Riattus frowned, and he approached them both, floating.
- “You could be more thankful towards your Teacher, you know that, right?”
- “And you could be more thankful towards someone that took you out from that mountain, after so many years. If I died in that village, what would happen to your Card Box and you? Maybe that Goblin Shaman would not want to have you around and destroy your Card Box, along with the Cards inside. Or he could find a way to make you fight for him. I bet you wouldn’t like to be the killing instrument of a Goblin, right?”
Riattus turned pale.
- “Yeah… that would be a nightmare…”
While they were walking North, deep into the forest, Woof was sniffing in front. Riattus was silent, thinking, and Ronald was looking at the Cards that he got from the Goblin Shaman that he killed.
- “There are some strange Cards in here… But I can more or less guess the effect of the Spells and the Traps, just by the drawings. But the Magical Beings are strange, for a Goblin. I bet he took these Cards from someone else. How could he use these? You said that a normal person had to be in perfect sync with a Card, to use it…”
- “Yes, I bet that Shaman tried a lot of Cards that his group took from people that they killed, to find those that worked with him. I also thought it was strange, the huge amount of Mana Orbs you got. That could only mean that there was a lot of Goblins in hiding and the Shaman had absorbed the Mana from the Humans that died in there. Leave those Cards aside, some people may recognize them and get suspicious. And please, keep my Card Box on your necklace with you, always! Preferably, hidden underneath your clothes.”
While Ronald was putting the Cards in his bag, Riattus was looking around while frowning.
- “I keep on forgetting that you are not as strong as I used to be. Summon a Big Rat, I would prefer one near us in case of danger. The dog is too weak to fight a Monster that could lurk in this forest.”
Ronald summoned the Rat, and Woof turned back as soon as he felt the whirlpool of the summoning. There it was, the Rat that he saw killing those Guards on the cave when he arrived at this strange World full of weird smells. Woof growled towards the Rat and Ronald stood in between them.
- “Stay, Woof! Look, he is friendly!”
The Rat nodded his big head while licking one front paw. Ronald put one hand over that big head, and he became amazed at how it looked real. The fur, the touch of the flesh, the breath coming from that big mouth…
- “This is so weird… it looks alive! Is this the one that I used on the Goblin Village? Or it’s another one?”
Before Riattus could answer, the Rat nodded, confirming it and showing his sides, fully healed, after the battle. Riattus smiled.
- “It seems it is the same. You used the same Card, the same Big Rat appears. That’s a good strategy because using the same Card will make him recognize you as the owner, and more willing to obey you. Now, if you tell him to protect you against Monsters, he will act as a bodyguard. If you see a prey, tell him to hunt it. Later on, he will learn how to recognize a prey and hunt when you order him. We don’t have enough space in this forest, but you can also mount him and use him as transport. But it’s better if you don’t do that anytime soon because after all, you are a normal Farmer, right?”
Woof was still growling in a low voice, he didn’t trust that big rat. Woof knew how rats looked back on Earth, and that one, despite being the size of a cow, it was still a rat. An ugly rat, that appeared on dark corners or alleys, scavenging food from garbage or screaking at him when he passed by on patrol. But that Human that gave him those soft cloths that he had on the neck, ordered him to stay, so Woof was going to obey. But obeying didn’t mean trusting on a rat…
Riattus asked Ronald about his life before arriving, and while they were travelling, he got to know a lot about the past of the man that rescued him from his incarceration. What worried him was that Ronald was too innocent, too friendly and not worried about what happened to him. He had to make sure that Ronald learned everything possible to survive in that dangerous World. At least, long enough to return to his homeworld. And that worried Riattus. What would happen if Ronald left and he stayed like that, like a weird ghost? Maybe if Ronald stayed…
- “Ronald, do you mind if I ask something?”
Ronald looked back while waiting that the two rabbits that Woof and the Big Rat caught, were roasted in the fire that he made previously, with a flint and a small dagger that was inside the bag that Riattus gave him.
- “Sure. As long it is nothing weird. You have a strange frown on your forehead.”
- “Well… I was wondering. Do you have someone on your World that you wish to see again? Because for what you told me, your life was very simple and sometimes unlucky. Despite the fact that your job in that restaurant could give you more opportunities in the future. Maybe with my help, and if you are prepared to work for it, you can have a good life here.”
Ronald threw some soil to the fire, to put down a flare that was burning a little too much, the rabbit’s meat.
- “No, not really. I never had the time, luck or opportunity to search for a woman. You said it, this World is a living hell, everyone is trying to get out from here, why should I stay? Unless you are worried about yourself, instead of me. You could say it without trying to fool me, you know?”
- “Yeah… Sorry, you are right, I am also worried about me. If you left, I don’t know what will happen to me. Maybe I could go with you, I could die for real, or go to Earth again…”
Ronald nodded while caressing Woof’s right ear.
- “Well, let’s think about that when that time comes, ok? I also don’t know if I want to stay here or not. Like you said, my life was not a big deal. Maybe here, I can have better luck. Who knows, I may even like to live in here, as long as there isn’t always someone or something, trying to kill me!!
- “Yes, let’s talk about that when that time comes. In the meantime, I can show you this World, and explain many things about it. You saw from the top of my mountain, this World is beautiful. The people living on it, not so much.”
- “Yeah, you already said that. And that it’s weird. If this World is so beautiful as you say, and Magic can be used in this new and strange way, why are there so many bad people? The number should be lower. If so many good people left, there should be a lot more trying to make this World a little better.”
- “I thought about that, many years ago. It was difficult. I had to bribe, kill, or steal some things, trying to gather answers. The Church had some written History, but they kept it in secret. The Elfians and the Dwarfs live twice as long as a Human and they also kept secret records. This, you can never tell anyone. I told to some friends, and they were the first to betray me. In the beginning, when this World was discovered, more than 1.000 years ago, it was chosen as a prison. A place where Earth, Myshkasyl and the Legosyl Worlds, the First Worlds, together with the following colonies, dumped the criminals they had in custody, filling their prisons or condemned to work slavery forever. Those first inmates started a new civilization in here, and their offspring continued to live here, trapped. Maybe because of their bad genes, but what started on their parents’ time as some skirmish and grudges evolved to full-out wars between the Kingdoms, killing many of them.”
- “That doesn’t sound good…”
- “It gets weirder. This next part, I only found out because the previous ones that were summoned here asked about it to Gaya, and they left records behind before leaving this World. Seems that two hundred years after the first inmates arrive, the Gods chose this World as the last chance for all the bad souls that died on those three Worlds and the colonies. In here, those souls that on previous lives did some very bad things would forget what they did in their past lives and start over. If they became a better soul while living a peaceful and gentle life, when they died or when they were judged by Gaya, they would be reincarnated or would be transported to one of the Three Worlds or the colonies. But if in here, they became evil or did bad things, when they died, they would have a second try. If they blew it for the second time, upon their death, that soul would be destroyed forever. Well, I need to clarify this part. A soul that blew up their second try would be reincarnated as a Monster. Upon the death of that Monster, the soul would cease to exist.”
Ronald became alarmed.
- “Wait a minute… You mean those Goblins that I killed, they used to be persons?”
- “That’s the correct grammar. Used to be. They weren’t anymore. All of them used to be persons that had two lives in here and on both, they didn’t get any better and were reincarnated as a Monster. I think it’s a good way of showing the ugliness of a soul. And that’s also the reason why there are so many monsters on this World. I didn’t know that when I went on a rampage, trying to kill every Goblin that existed. I always wondered why they kept on appearing. I found out about this, two or three years before my last battle, when I “died”. But even with all this, there were a lot of good people that Gaya granted passage. And a few crazy ones that instead of leaving, decided to stay, to help the people. About those, there were stories and music, telling about their deeds and kindness. I think that could still be some stories about me. I was an amazing villain and tyrant.”
Ronald was slowly shaking his head, overwhelmed by all that information.
- “But… Why turn the bad souls to Monsters? What’s the point?”
- “Population control measure. Like that, the number of people living here would never exceed the capabilities and the natural resources of the World. It is also a good way to kill good people so that they can get reincarnated sooner into another World and kill the bad ones before they do more harm. Hey, why are you looking like that to me? I wasn’t the one to make the rules in here! If you want to complain, complain to God Seya! Or to Gaya! You should thank me for getting all this information free of charge because I had a lot of work to find out about this! It was one of the reasons why I was “killed”!”
Ronald gave a leg of one roasted rabbit to Woof, and he took a portion to himself. He started to eat in silence while looking at the Big Rat, that was sniffing the air around.
- “This World is really weird… And this big guy, when will he disappear?”
- “Only when he dies, you say that he can leave or, depending on your level. I think he will stay with us for one more day. After he disappears, you can summon him again, and he will be with us for another two days. When your level rises, the Magical Beings that you summon will stay with you longer. I had a flying horse with me for ten years. And a dragon for five. That one was a real menace. I used to ride him and scorch every village or army that didn’t obey me! The memories…”
Suddenly, Woof raised his head and growled in the direction of a bush at five meters from the big rocks where they were resting and eating. The Big Rat stood next to him, sniffing in the same direction. Before Ronald could say anything, five Goblins came running from behind the bush. The Rat was the first to attack, followed by Woof. When Ronald got up and even before he could summon anything, the Goblins died by the double charge of the Rat and Woof. Five red Orbs appeared where the Goblins died, and Woof was sniffing one of them. Riattus pointed at Woof.
- “He deserves them, right? He did a very good job, and Goblins don’t die easily.”
Ronald went near Woof and guided his right paw towards every Orb. They returned to the campfire and while Woof was licking his right paw, probably because of the tickling caused by the absorption of the Orbs, Ronald placed on the ground the Status Sphere. He then grabbed Woof’s paw and placed it on top of the Sphere. His stats appeared.
Race - Dog
Name - Woof
Age - 3
Job - World Traveller
LV - 3
ATK - 450
HP - 300
Skills - none
Hp Armor - 0
ATK Weapon - 0
Equip Intelligence - 0
Equip Wisdom - 0
Strength - 10
Quickness - 10
Body - 10
Intelligence - 10
Wisdom - 10
Willpower - 10
Mana - 50
Xp (x2) - 5
And then, some letters appeared, saying, ”Each XP gives 5 points to spend on Attributes. You have 25 points. Choose the Attributes and the number of points to allocate“. It then started to show just the Attributes.
Strength - 10
Quickness - 10
Body - 10
Intelligence - 10
Wisdom - 10
Riattus pointed at the Sphere.
- “Put five on everything. He will become stronger, faster, more intelligent and he also needs Willpower and Wisdom, for improving the effects of the scarfs that he has.”
Ronald did just that, and Woof’s stats changed.
Race - Dog
Name - Woof
Age - 3
Job - World Traveller
LV - 3
ATK - 450
HP - 300
Skills - none
Hp Armor - 0
ATK Weapon - 0
Equip Intelligence - 0
Equip Wisdom - 0
Strength - 15
Quickness - 15
Body - 15
Intelligence - 15
Wisdom - 15
Willpower - 15
Mana - 15
Xp (x2) - 0
Woof started to shake his head, and he then rubbed it on the grass on the floor. Woof looked at Ronald and tilted his head, puzzled. Ronald scratched Woof’s ear while smiling.
- “It’s my impression, or he got a little bigger?”
- “Yes, he did. He looks bulkier and with more muscle. He now resembles even more with an alfa wolf. I wonder how big he will become, as he levels up. Strangely, your stats where ten and when you placed the points, it assumed you had zero. On Woof’s case, it added correctly. A glitch or it’s because it’s an animal? I don’t know, maybe that’s not important. So, finish eating, we need to get going. You can put some rabbit’s meat in the bag to eat later but remember to say the name of it as you put the meat inside so that you can retrieve it more easily. I am still surprised by how you managed to recognize eatable plants and leaves, to make a salad!”
Ronald shrugged his shoulders.
- “As I am, for you to have inside this bag some salt, salad dressing, and aromatic plants for seasoning this salad and the meat!”
As soon as the lunch ended, they continued. Riattus pointed to a small cluster of blue plants, that was hidden behind a huge rock that he found during the night, saying those were very rare and valuable because upon boiled, the liquid would serve as a Healing Potion, accelerating the cicatrisation of cuts and wounds, to an astonishing speed. Ronald picked the best leaves and placed inside a cloth, keeping it in the bag with the Compressed Dimension. During the rest of the day, they walked along the forest, using some animal narrow paths. Where the vegetation was too much, the Rat took care of opening a path. By the end of the afternoon, the Rat and Woof managed to hunt a deer and Ronald roasted it, cutting it into small portions to keep inside the one-shoulder bag. They finished the rabbit’s meat as a dinner, heating it on the bonfire that Ronald made for passing the night inside a small cave. Ronald and Woof slept together, wrapped up in a thick blanket, while the Big Rat was standing guard in front of the cave. Riattus had no need to sleep, so he spent the night thinking and walking around the forest, not too far away from his Card Box, but still, at a good distance so that he could be sure the night would be safe for Ronald.
Another day came by, and they continued on walking, while Riattus was telling some of his past adventures. Some of them were amazing, while many others were too violent and gross for Ronald’s taste. But Riattus seemed to have a good time remembering it, so, Ronald didn’t complain. Near the middle of the afternoon, the Rat disappeared inside his whirlpool, when they were almost arriving at a dirt path. It was at the exact moment because an open wagon was approaching. The man at the reins of the horse was puzzled by that sight of a man walking alongside the road with a wolf tied to a rope. As he passed Ronald, he greeted him:
- “Hello, stranger! It is unusual to see someone walking along this road. And with a wolf as a companion, it is even stranger!”
Ronald smiled while walking.
- “Hello, we are just travelling to the Kingdom of Loriath. Do you know if it’s still far?”
- “If you continue walking, you will arrive in the middle of tomorrow’s morning. If you are trustworthy, I may give you a ride and you can get there by this evening. You can keep me company, I won’t mind talking as we travel. I have been travelling all alone for the last three days, I am a little bored.”
- “I would appreciate the ride, thanks. I can’t prove that I am in fact trustworthy, so I won’t think badly of you if you withdraw your offer.”
- “Well, if that wolf trusts you, and everyone knows how those guys are suspicious of people, maybe you are not as bad as you could be. Are you sure he will not try to eat my throat?”
- “Yes, I am sure. He is very obedient. Here Woof, hop on to the back! Lay down and don’t make a mess in there! Now, kind sir, may I join you at your side? Or do you prefer if I stay in the wagon with him?”
The driver pats the seat next to him.
- “By all means, sit here and tell me what you are doing, walking around here. That wolf is very obedient indeed. How did you manage to tame him?”
Ronald smiled while looking back at Woof that was resting his head on top of a cereals bag.
- “I guess he was just as confused as I was when we first met. But I managed to gain his trust. My name is Ronald and that guy over there, it’s Woof. Do you mind if I ask how things are nowadays, in the Loriath Kingdom? I was told it was a peaceful Kingdom for many years, but I am new into these parts, so I am not sure if I wasn’t deceived by a weird old man.”
- “I am Feebles, the Merchant. Pleased to meet you. Well, considering that Loriath neighbours the Kingdom of Breidan, right across that forest on your right, it is still a free Kingdom by a miracle. Breidan is always trying to increase its borders, but the Monsters that are lurking in the forest, are serving as a natural border. Every time that an army came from Breidan, more than half of it is killed in there. The rest dies when they exit the forest because the Loriath forces are called as soon as the noises of the dying soldiers are heard by the people that travel along this road. But did you cross that forest? How did you manage to not get yourself killed by some Goblin? Did you come from Breidan?”
Ronald pointed with his head to Woof.
- “That guy helped when we were in a pinch. I was also very careful, by travelling during the night and avoiding any village or weird noise. I came from the far East of the Kingdom of Terbik. I had a lot of experience with dealing with Goblins while I was living there.”
Feebles nodded, visibly impressed.
- “I understand… Terbik always had problems with hordes of Goblins. I bet you are a very strong Adventurer, for risking to cross a forest well known to be the lair of many Goblin Villages.”
Ronald slowly shook his head.
- “No, I used to be a Farmer. I left Terbik because I lost my family and the memories were too painful. I am trying to find a job with a group of Adventurers if one of them would have me. I can be just a Farmer, but I am also very strong, and I think they won’t mind having a companion that doesn’t mind with some hard work. I can also cook, so I guess that could count.”
- “I see… I am sorry for your family. I know the Guild Master of the Adventurer’s Guild in Durant, the Capital of Loriath, to where I am travelling. If you want, I can introduce you to him, maybe he can help with finding a Party of Adventurers that are searching for a Carrier or a Cook.”
- “That would be a huge help, thank you very much. As I said, I am new in these parts and I spent all my life in Terbik. I am a little ignorant of the state of things in the World. I don’t know what the names are and where are the Kingdoms, and which year is it. I kind of lost track of time, during my grief. I don’t know if I was lost in my pain for two years or ten…”
- “Things are as they were for all these past few years. The Diocese of Thetria is always in a military disagreement with the Kingdom of Breidan regarding the scripts about God Seya, Breidan is trying to invade the nearby countries to expand its borders, Zakrosia is a region where only Monsters live, the Principality of Rediorumia and Homysodia are still trying to be neutral without directly supporting Breidan or Thetria, while the rest of the Kingdoms try to continue living as they have, for all these years while fighting their local Monsters. Last week started the Ary’s month of the year 1.540. I have an extra copy of the Map of this region, and if you can take care of today’s dinner, I will give it to you.”
- “I can do that. Do you like deer meat? I have some portions with very good size on my bag. I don’t have rice or potatoes, but I can prepare a good salad.”
Feebles smiled from ear to ear.
- “Deer meat is very tasty, expensive and very difficult to come by! I can provide some potatoes as a side dish, but how did you get a hold of deer meat?”
Ronald pointed with his head to Woof, that was sleeping under the afternoon sun, with his head over a cereal bag.
- “With that guy’s help. I scared the deer right into his mouth full of teeth. We had a lot of work to kill it, it was huge and dangerous. After a few bites in his throat and a clean pierce with my sword, we managed to take him down. It provided meals for us, for the last two days. But I still have a lot of smoked meat.”
Feebles was nodding.
- “A very good way to preserve the meat, really. And in my humble opinion, it makes the meat even more delicious. You indeed have some experience as a Cook. Any Adventurer’s Party would be more than happy to have you if you can even hunt for making their meals!”
Ronald shrugged his shoulders.
- “I hope so. I need to find a different kind of job, for not remembering my past. Becoming a Farmer again would bring back some memories that I wish to forget…”
Feebles nodded in silence. It seemed this new voyage partner was still very sad about the loss of his family and that could be the reason for venturing such a dangerous voyage to go to Loriath. Coming all the way since Terbik, crossing the Kingdom of Pigliapo and Breidan to get to Loriath, with enough opportunities to get killed and even like that, he managed to accomplish it without any visible wounds or lost members, that was an achievement in its own way. Either he was lucky, suicidal, crazy, or he was stronger and more dangerous than he looked. But even with those suspected flags, he was very friendly, polite and managed to get the trust of that big wolf, one of the most dangerous wild animals around. Perhaps he was just blessed by God Seya, as a compensation for his loss.
The rest of the voyage was a lot of fun for Feebles. He had many stories from his past years of Merchant and an avid listener that was marvelled by everything that he told, even when he exaggerated a tiny bit. By the end of the afternoon and when the walls of the capital could be seen in a distance, they stopped so that Ronald could prepare their dinner. While Feebles provided the pots and the potatoes to be cooked, Ronald took from his bag three big pieces of deer meat that smelled divinely. He cut some slices as an appetizer for Feebles and Woof, and while the potatoes were boiling, he was happily listening to one more of Feebles adventures.
When the potatoes were ready, they ate. Woof sniffed one potato that Ronald offered him but turned back and went straight to his big portion of smoked deer’s meat. Feebles laughed because of the surprised look of Ronald. As if a wild wolf would ever eat a potato when he could eat meat!
After dinner, Feebles did as he promised, he offered a copy of the Map to Ronald. He was very grateful and offered him another portion of deer meat for him to eat at lunch the next day, still wrapped in a cloth, that he quickly took from his bag. Feebles wondered how he managed to carry all that meat inside the bag, without showing any signs of tiredness because of the weight.
After they cleaned the pot and put everything in their place under the driver’s seat, their journey continued. Sometime later, Ronald was looking up, surprised by the height of the gate and the wall that surrounded Durant, the capital of Loriath. A Gate Guard had a torch in his right hand and was looking at him and at Woof, inquiring him why he had a wild wolf tied to a rope in his hand and that dangerous beast was peacefully lying over a bag of cereal. Feebles vouched for them both and because the two Gate Guards that were on duty knew him from previous visits, allowed the entrance of that strange pair, upon the guarantee that Ronald would never leave the wolf run loose, without being strongly tied to that rope.
While they were going along the main street, in the evening and with torches already lit on the top of high poles to provide some light, Ronald was admiring the houses. Wood and rock were the common materials, with some houses with big and bulky metal doors. Businesses and shops, probably. There were more opulent houses as they approached the centre of the Capital as if it were an indication of the social place of the inhabitants. Right at the centre, there was a large City square. Feebles stopped the wagon in front of an Inn, next to a big building with a sign at the top of the entrance, “Adventurer’s Guild”. A boy came running from the Inn and he grabbed the reins of the horse that was pulling the wagon and he smiled towards Feebles.
- “Welcome back, Mister Feebles! You and your companion are staying with us for tonight?”
Feebles frowned, and he looked at Ronald.
- “I am sorry. I never asked if you had money with you. I suppose you need a place to sleep, right?”
- “I have money, but I think I may need your help, figuring out the fair price for a stay in this Inn. I don’t know how much the usual price in this Kingdom is.”
- “Well, it’s not that expensive as it may seem, it’s very affordable. Sleeping in this Inn costs three copper coins per night with one meal. A meal costs one copper coin. Is that reasonable for you?”
Ronald looked at Woof.
- “I guess so. I just don’t know what they will think about having him sleeping in a room inside the Inn. I can’t leave him outside or near the horses. You heard the Gate Guard, he must always be near me.”
- “I can have a word with the Innkeeper and explain your situation, don’t you worry about that. I am a regular here, I think there will not be a problem.”
The boy was looking at Woof, that was now standing on top of the cereal bag where he was sleeping previously.
- “Mister Feebles! A wolf!”
- “Yes, I know, don’t worry. That wolf is the companion of my friend, Mister Roland, here. Now, take care of the horse, ok? Here, a coin for you, my boy. Mister Ronald, shall we go have a talk with the Guild Master? It’s still early, I bet he is in his office.”
- “Sure, the sooner the better! Come here, Woof! Good boy… Now, don’t growl or bark to anyone, understood? Behave properly, I don’t want people getting scared because of you!”
Woof made a low bark as if he was saying that he would do that. That reaction dumbfounded Feebles and the stable boy. Ronald just rubbed Woof’s ear and looked at Feebles.
- “Can we go? I think he will be a good boy and don’t make a mess in there. Unless someone is crazy enough to pick a fight with him!”
- “Ok, but grab the rope really tight, he might get scared by the noise and some sudden movements. Adventurers are always a little jumpy and overly excited after a few drinks!”
While the stable boy drove the horse to the back of the Inn, Ronald followed Feebles. As soon as they entered the Guild, the noise that could be heard on the outside came to a halt, because a stranger with a big wolf tied to a rope, just entered. Feebles nervously looked around and he pointed with his hand to the front desk where a young woman was, talking with three men that looked angry.
- “We must go talk with that young lady and ask her to call the Guild Master. It seems that there’s a situation in there, I hope there won’t be a problem if we wait near them, for our turn.”
Ronald was looking around with a small smile and he greeted some people that were looking at him with a slight nod of his head. While they were walking to the front desk, Ronald noticed a beautiful woman with dark hair tied into a ponytail, dressed in dark leather clothes, polishing a sword while seated at a table near three men. One that was a Human with a very serious face, another that was as beardy as a Dwarf that used to work with him at the market, and another one that had dark green clothes, a hood covering his head and was sharpening a short dagger while looking at him from the corner of his eye. An Elfian in disguise, for sure. The beardy one could be a Dwarf if it wasn’t for his height. The woman was probably their leader, judging by the way they all seemed to be waiting for her to say anything.
When Ronald and Feebles were almost near the front desk, one of the three men punched the balcony and shouted to the young woman:
- “What do you mean, by saying that you advise us to not apply for this Class A job? Are you saying that we can’t do it?”
The young woman waved both hands while looking a little nervous.
- “No… I wasn’t saying that… it’s just because two other groups already tried it, and they never returned. And one of them had five strong Adventurers, and even they…”
Suddenly, the men that punched the balcony, drew a dagger and approached it towards the woman’s throat.
- “You are annoying me, woman! Perhaps I should cut…”
Before he could finish his threat, he was knocked down by a strong hit to the back of his head by Ronald, that used a bench that he took from the nearby table. Ronald calmly said to the woman.
- “I am sorry for this violence on my part and for my next actions, but a man threatening a woman must be swiftly punished.”
One of the friends of the knocked-out man, after realizing what happened, tried to draw his sword only to be struck in the face by another hit from Ronald’s bench. The third one had a dagger on one hand, but before he could approach Ronald, he had a sword close to his neck, firmly held by the beautiful woman with a ponytail.
- “Careful… Unless you want to lose some blood…”
The man looked at his side and he faced the woman.
- “Who said that you could intervene, you “bican”…”
Before he could finish his insult, Ronald struck him with the bench straight to the mouth. Blood and teeth flew all over, dirtying the floor. The beautiful woman looked at Ronald, a little angry.
- “Hey, I didn’t need any kind of help!”
- “Neither did I, but you still helped. I am sorry, but a man insulting a woman right in front of me, it’s something that I can’t tolerate. If you excuse me, I still need to properly punish this guy that was threatening the receptionist.”
Ronald bent over and he grabbed the man’s right hand, the one that had the dagger with which he threatened the young receptionist. He then opened the hand, palms down on the ground. Ronald said with anger in his voice, while raising the bench:
- “For raising a hand towards a woman, the punishment is the loss of that hand.”
Ronald struck the man’s hand with one foot of the bench. Three strong hits turned the man’s hand into a bloody pulp. He then cleaned the bench with the man’s clothes and placed the bench near the table from where he took it, right in front of the dumbfounded eyes of Feebles. He was astonished. The friendly voyage partner that he found earlier, had so much hate on his eyes that he looked a different person.
The silence in that room was overwhelming. The woman slowly placed her sword on her sheath.
- “You know, coming here and knocking out three Adventurers from another City and completely destroying the hand of one of them, could gather you a lot of grudges from the Adventurers in here.”
Ronald looked around with a serious face.
- “What? From all these cowards that looked away while a woman had a dagger against her throat, pretending to not see anything? Why are you all looking at me? Did I say any lie? None of you moved a finger to help her! None! And you call yourself Adventurers? You should all be ashamed…”
The same looks that were previously looking at him with anger were now looking away or at the glass in front of them. Ronald gave a serious look to the woman that helped him.
- “I came to this Guild looking for a job, but if all these guys around are an example of the calibre of this Guild, it’s better if I go to another one.”
He then turned to face the young receptionist.
- “I truly apologise for all the violence that I did in front of you. If you lend me a piece of cloth and some water, I will quickly clean the blood on the floor, it’s not fair if my actions give you more work than you already have.”
The receptionist quickly waved her hands with a shine in her eyes and a big smile.
- “No, by all means! It’s the least I can do, clean up after you so boldly helped me! I didn’t know what to do, maybe I caused all this because I didn’t explain properly my concerns!”
Ronald slowly shook his head.
- “No, it was their fault, for disrespecting you. I thank you for your understanding. I shall take my leave then, I will continue my journey and go to another Guild.”
From a corner of the balcony, a strong male voice was heard:
- “Nonsense! After giving such an accordingly treatment to those rude men? No way I will let you leave without convincing you to join this Guild! I was a little too slow to arrive, I rushed from my back office at the sound of your first blow, but you were too fast, and all ended before I could intervene. Mister Feebles, where did you find this guy? Come, let’s all talk in my office! And to the cowards that didn’t budge to help my daughter Mira, I will remember this!”
Everyone in the room became restless. They all knew far too well what a warning like that from the Guild Master meant. They would have a lot of trouble for him to forgive them. The woman with the ponytail raised his hand.
- “Guild Master, do you mind if I join you? I am a little curious about our visitor.”
- “I don’t see any problem with that. And you, young man?”
Ronald shrugged his shoulders.
- “I don’t see any problem either. I would also be very honoured if such a beautiful and strong woman accompanied us.”
The woman laughed.
- “Ahahahah! Yes, you should be very honoured because I will grant you with my presence!”
The Guild Master looked at Woof, that had a rope tied to the scarfs around his neck, with the other end of the rope strongly held by Ronald.
- “This wolf is tamed? I would prefer if he stayed tied outside in the street. Having a wild animal in here is not a good idea.”
- “I am sorry, but that was the agreement that I made with the Gate Guard for him to be allowed entry into this City. He can’t leave my side. Outside, someone can get in a problem if they annoy him. I can reassure you that he will behave properly while near me. All alone, I can’t promise anything. He may try to kill everyone in here if I let him loose.”
The Guild Master pointed with his hand to the back of the front desk and he then looked around to the Adventures at the tables.
- “Ok, let’s go then, I want to hear more about him. And you as well. And you guys, take those three from my floor and throw them in the back of the building, with the rest of the trash!”
Feebles, Ronald, Woof, and the woman followed the Guild Master to a room on the back of the balcony while a group of Adventurers rushed to obey his orders. After closing the door behind him, Ronald took a look around while sitting at a chair that the Guild Master pointed. Some shelves with books, a table full of papers and a Status Sphere in the middle, a lot of flasks in a corner on top of a small table with a light blue liquid inside. Ronald was looking at those, they had the same colour as the leaves that he picked up in the forest, the ones that Riattus told him that could be prepared to make Healing Potions.
The Guild Master noticed where he was looking.
- “Right upon entering, evaluating the space, the exits and the most valuable possessions... You intrigue me, young man.”
Ronald turned to face the Guild Master.
- “I am sorry, it was rude of me. I was curious, and those flasks had the same colours as some plants that I saw recently.”
- “Yes, those are Healing Potions made from the rare Blue Brittlebush leaves. Very rare and extremely valuable.”
Ronald made a slight smile.
- “Really? How much does it cost, a handful of those leaves?”
- “Well, considering that all those flasks were made from only three leaves and they cost one silver coin each, a handful would be a huge amount.”
Ronald slowly nodded his head.
- “I see… Well, I have a bunch of those leaves with me that I am more than willing to sell…”
The Guild Master made a suspicious smile while caressing his chin. The woman at Ronald’s left side, changed the position on her chair, to more easily face Ronald.
- “Oh, that is interesting, very interesting indeed…”