The Normal Farmer

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Chapter 3.2

Slowly, Ronald let go Woof’s rope.

- “Woof, attention! Now, before any of you does any attempt against my life, I must warn you that Woof is very fast and obedient, and if any of you tries anything against me to relieve me of my cargo, you will not leave this room alive.”

The sudden change in the mood alarmed the Guild Master, and he frowned.

- “I don’t know what you had to face while you were travelling to get here to make you so suspicious towards other people, but you are among friends, no harm will come to you, you have my word!”

Ronald grabbed the rope again.

- “Woof, stay! Your word means nothing to me, I don’t know you. I was warned by a very wise old man that things around here are not so peaceful like in my home village. You must forgive me for being so careful. I do not intend to die anytime soon, especially from a sudden attack by another Human. And your body language was too suspicious for my taste, while this woman was getting ready to jump on me.”

The Guild Master strongly shook his head.

- “No, I was only thinking about your words and how much profit I would gain if I had enough money to buy your leaves!”

And the woman continued while waving her hands.

- “I was just surprised by what you said! Since you entered this Guild, it was one surprise after another.”

Ronald stopped to think for a moment and he then continued.

- “Ok… Well, I came here in search of a job. I was told that a Party of Adventurers could need someone like me, to be a Carrier or a Cook. And if I got a fair offer for those Blue Brittlebush leaves, it would also help me on filling my purse.”

The woman looked at him while frowning.

- “You seek a job as a Carrier? An Adventurer like you?”

Ronald nodded and asked the Guild Master.

- “I suppose that it is expected that I have my stats measured, correct?”

- “Yes, of course. If you could be so kind and place your hand on this Status Sphere, it would help me in figuring out where you could be used.”

Ronald put his hand over the Sphere and what they all saw in there, made their jaws drop.

Race - Human

Name - Ronald O’Sullivan

Age - 25

Job - Farmer

LV - 14

ATK - 2.130

HP - 1.420

Skills - none

Hp Armor - 0

ATK Weapon - 0

Equip Intelligence - 0

Equip Wisdom - 0

Physical Attributes:

Strength - 110

Quickness - 100

Body - 100

Mental Attributes:

Intelligence - 200

Wisdom - 200

Special Attributes:

Willpower - 200

Mana - 200

XP - 0

The woman was the first to speak.

- “No way… a common Farmer… Stronger than any Knight that I know… How did you manage this?”

Ronald answered with his cover story that he practiced with Riattus, about him being a Farmer from the far East of the Kingdom of Terbik, where hordes of Goblins were so common and were also the reason why his wife and daughter died and made in go in a rampage, killing every Goblin around, in a guerrilla tactic way of killing one and hiding, waiting for the next one. Like that, he managed to get a hold of many Mana Orbs that upon advice from a Priest of his village, made him place his Points on the Physical Attributes so that he could kill more Goblins. After some years and because the memories were haunting him, he left his village and travelled to get there, because he was told that it was a peaceful Kingdom.

The Guild Master was still looking at Ronald’s Stats.

- “A Farmer… A very strong one, but still a Farmer… Didn’t you ever try to change jobs?”

- “No, I didn’t even know that I could do that. But being a Farmer never bothered me, I won’t mind keeping it. Who knows, maybe one day I decide to settle in a small piece of land again. But for the time being, I need another kind of job. One that can give me money to start over while allowing me to forget my past life.”

The Guild Master looked at the woman, she was in silence and looking at the Sphere.

- “What do you say, Duza? You are always complaining that you could have someone to carry all your stuff, right? And your Party could use another member because after what happened with the last one, you never accepted anyone that I recommended you.”

Ronald frowned.

- “He died?”

Duza slowly shook his head.

- “Not immediately, I had him bleed for several hours before I let him die. He had the nerve to try to rape me when I was in bed recovering from a mission that went terribly wrong. The other members of my Party stopped him in time when they arrived to check on me. When I recovered, I sliced his male friend and watched him bleed to death. That’s why I am so curious about you, what you did to that guy that threatened Mira impressed me in a good way.”

Ronald made a frown.

- “Yeah, I always hated violence towards women. Even if the woman is strong and seems quite able to take care of herself, something pops inside of me when I see situations like that one. But you didn’t say your name. It doesn’t seem fair, considering that you already know mine, because of the Sphere.”

- “Fair enough. I am Duza Sonanji and that big Guild Master over there is Haje Sonanji. You already met my sister, Mira Sonanji.”

Ronald covered his face with both hands.

- “Great… A family business… I guess I won’t have any luck in here on finding a job, so, if we could just take care of the sale of my leaves, I shall go away.”

The Guild Master strongly shook both hands.

- “Nonsense! After what you did to help my younger daughter and after I found out how strong you are? There is no way that I won’t try to convince you to stay with us! I bet you are going to get even stronger. You will be a good asset to my Guild!”

Ronald went silent and answered in a low voice. He was mostly speaking to Riattus that was also in the room, but everyone heard him:

- “Great… I came here trying to find a peaceful place to live, and I already found people trying to take advantage of my goodwill. I am either too stupid or too kind for this…”

Riattus spoke from a corner, and only Ronald was able to hear him:

- “Don’t worry, I think you can trust these people. We just need to be careful with them not finding out about you.”

Haje, the Guild Master, tried to reassure Ronald:

- “I would never try to take advantage of you! But I would like that you could join Duza’s Party. Judging by what you did in there, I could bet that she would be a lot safer with you around. Not that I don’t believe that she can’t protect herself, far from that, because I made sure to train her since she could walk, but I would be happier if she had you nearby.”

Ronald looked at Duza that was frowning.

- “And what makes you think that I am reliable? I can easily be a crazy guy, pretending to be a good one, only to attack her on my first try.”

- “Well, you had to pass through her companions, first. And then, defeat her. Not an easy task, I assure you. Why do you think the other one tried his luck when she couldn’t stop him when she was almost dying from her injuries? But there’s something about you. Maybe that look on your face that I saw when you were crushing that bastard’s hand, or it’s just a feeling that I have.”

Duza spoke, she seemed annoyed:

- “I never said I wanted him in my Party, I was just curious. Besides, even if I said I wanted him, he still has to get approval from the others.”

Ronald smiled.

- “Do you mean those guys that were with you at that table? That serious Human, the Half-Breed Dwarf and the Elfian?”

- “No way… How could you tell? I found out about Ovaidel’s heritage almost a year after we started travelling together! No one besides my father knows that, not even my sister! And Ini has always above his head that big hood of his, for hiding his ears and looks!”

Ronald shrugged his shoulders.

- “I used to have two friends that were a Half-Breed Dwarf and an Elfian. I can recognize one of them when I see it.”

Feebles spoke, for the first time since the commotion started in the other room:

- “I knew it, you are not our average Farmer. I was suspicious when I saw you coming out of the forest with that wolf, but your smile and polite manners fooled me. You looked like a different person, in there! It was a little frightening, seeing you changing like that.”

Ronald strongly shook his hands.

- “I am really sorry, it was never my intention to scare you, Mister Feebles! I may have over-reacted in that situation. I need to be more careful, from now on. Besides, aren’t we forgetting anything? I thought we had a transaction to take care of…”

The Guild Master crossed his fingers on top of his desk.

- “Indeed… I would like to see those leaves, first, of course.”

Ronald nodded while opening his one-shoulder bag and saying the name of the leaves to the inside, in a very low voice:

- “Of course… “Blue Brittlebush leaves!” … Here it is, let me just open this cloth. I may have more, but for now, we can trade these.”

When Ronald opened the carefully wrapped package, a bunch of the best quality leaves of Blue Brittlebush that they ever saw, was on top of the white cloth on that table. The Guild Master gasped for a moment, Feebles had his mouth wide open and Duza was trembling. Haje Sonanji was the first to speak, after starting to breathe again:

- “These are the best Blue Brittlebush leaves that I ever saw in my entire life… Where did you find these?”

- “Come on, are you really asking that? What is important is a fair price for these, so that I can go meet Miss Duza’s Party and see if they allow me to join them. You said that three leaves could make all those flasks and each of them is sold at one silver coin each. I suppose there are ten or twelve flasks in there, so I guess that each leaf cost almost four silver coins. And these ones, are top grade, so it could be a little more, like five or six silver coins. So, I have here… 43 leaves, 20 silver coins total. Considering the work to boil the leaves, that must be at an accurate temperature of 115 degrees for thirty minutes, pouring the mixture into flasks, the price of some pretty flasks and the top-grade quality of the leaves, you are looking at a pretty good profit, if you have 18 silver coins. These would be able to make high-grade Healing Potions, that can go as high as two silver coins for one flask.”

The Guild Master raised one eyebrow.

- “You… are really willing to sell me all these for 18 silver coins?”

- “Yes. Even if I don’t stay here, that’s the price. I think it’s very cheap, considering you can sell the flasks for more money than those over there.”

- “You are completely right… But I don’t have so much money right now. Maybe next week, if all the jobs of last week are complete. I can pay 15 silver coins right now.”

Ronald wrapped the leaves and delivered the package to Haje Sonanji.

- “I will trust you on this. I know someone that would make a fuss because I trusted with something so expensive to someone that I just met, but I guess I will take that risk.”

Haje opened the lower drawer of his desk and from there, he took a small money purse that he opened. He took 15 silver coins that he handed over to Ronald with a smile.

- “Thank you for this, I will have more silver coins by the middle of next week, for sure. I don’t know how many, so I hope you wait for it.”

- “I think I can. Even if I don’t find a job in here, I will use my free time to learn a little more about this Kingdom, so that I could decide if I will remain here or go to another one.”

Haje smiled and asked Duza:

- “What do you say? Have you decided?”

Duza got up and looked at Ronald.

- “Come, Mister Ronald O’Sullivan. Let’s see what the others say about you. I am still intrigued, I guess it would be interesting having you around. I am also a little tired of the quality of Ovaidel dishes, every time we go on a job.”

Ronald frowned.

- “Ok… I guess… Mister Feebles, thanks for your help. Can we meet again tomorrow? I would like to have lunch with you, to speak a little more, if you could grant me that honour.”

- “By all means, Mister Ronald, of course.”

Ronald followed Duza, with Woof next to him, still firmly tied to the rope. Upon his exit, Haje was opening the cloth with the Blue leaves.

- “Mister Feebles, from where do you know him?”

- “I just met him today’s afternoon. I saw him coming out of the forest and walking alongside the road with that huge wolf, happily at his side. I thought it was weird, but after travelling with him and having dinner, I found out that I was comfortable near him. I wasn’t suspicious, afraid or felt that I was in any kind of danger. He seemed… real? Or maybe that’s not the best word… Like if he was truly kind and not pretending to be one to fool me, you understand?”

- “Yes, I got the same feeling… Weird, right?”

In the main room, Ronald approached the table where the other members of Duza’s Party were seated. The Human was the first to notice their approach and he elbowed the other two at his sides. Duza seated at her place and invited Ronald to sit at her front.

- “Everyone, meet Mister Ronald O’Sullivan. For what you all saw previously, what do you think of him? He is looking for a job as a Carrier or a Cook. Mister Ronald, meet Reylom Doggom, a former Priest from The Diocese of Thetria, Ini Tumrul, a Tracker and Hunter from Homysodia and Ovaidel Satsin from the Kingdom of Pigliapo.”

Ronald smiled and made a small greet with his head.

- “Hello. A former Priest? Really? If I may be so bold as to ask this on our first encounter, would you mind one of these days telling me more about the doctrine among the Diocese of Thetria? I know that there is some disagreement between Thetria and the Kingdom of Breidan, but I am not familiar with the reasons for it.”

Reylom smiled, the first one that Ronald saw from him since entering the front door of the Guild.

- “I would be more than glad on taking you into the right path of God Seya’s teachings!”

Ronald turned to Ini Tumrul and spoke in his best Elfian Old Language:

- “May God Legolas guide your Life, Tracker!

Ini looked at him from the corner of his hood and made an almost imperceptible nod with his head. Ronald then faced Ovaidel and greeted him in the Dwarf Old Language:

- “May God Legolas give strength to your axe and that it never loses its sharpness!

Ovaidel turned to Duza with anger on his eyes but before he could say anything, she explained:

- “Don’t look to me like that, he figured out as soon as he saw you both.”

Reylom was puzzled by that conversation, but before he could say anything else, Duza told them that Ronald was stronger than he looked, with higher Physical Attributes than a Knight. Because he could also cook, it would be a change from Ovaidel dishes. Ronald told them his cover story and they all remained in silence for a while, thinking. Ronald got up and excused himself:

- “I will let you talk among yourselves and decide, I need to go see the receptionist and apologize again for my violent actions.”

Ronald left to the front desk and Duza was looking at him leaving, surprised by that big wolf that kept on walking next to him, like if Ronald was the Alpha Leader of the pack. Ini smiled when he noticed her looking.

- “Seems he made quite the impression on you… I never saw you looking so puzzled towards anyone.”

Duza nodded, looking a little surprised.

- “Yeah… I don’t know why, but I am really intrigued by him! He has such a true smile and he is so polite that I find hard to believe that he is the same man that crushed the hand of that guy like if he was nothing more than an annoying insect…”

Ini looked at Woof, that was seated on the floor while Ronald was talking to Mira, at the front desk.

- “Yes, and speaking so perfectly two old languages, with the proper greeting way and knowing the name of the God of my ancient World, that is also remarkable on its own. Even that big wolf seems happy to be at his side. Yes, I am also very intrigued. And more suspicious than I would like to be…”

Duza lowered her voice.

- “He told me that he had two friends, one Dwarf and one Elfian. Maybe those were the ones that taught him. Or he could be a Breidan spy, trying to analyse the defences of this Kingdom.”

Ovaidel slowly shook his head.

- “No, I don’t think he is a spy. I sense something in him that I didn’t felt for years. I only sensed that when I was near my younger brother. That guy over there has a kind soul. I don’t know why he remains on this World, he should have left years ago. Maybe he decided to stay because of his family. I felt a dark cloud around him when he talked about them. He is still recovering from that loss.”

Reylom was looking at Ronald, still smiling.

- “That is someone who God Seya’s teachings can truly help. I wouldn’t mind helping him…”

Duza crossed her fingers over the table, with a thoughtful look. After a few moments, she asked:

- “So, we are in agreement? We can use him?”

They all nodded, with Ini correcting her:

- “Not using, accept him… Duza, sometimes you say things in a way that concerns me…”

While Duza’s Party were deciding on Ronald’s future, he was talking with Mira Sonanji:

- “Hello again, I am sorry for intruding during your work. I wish to apologise again, you saw a very ugly side of me, one that I thought I got rid years ago.”

Mira turned red and she stuttered for a while:

- “No… I… want to thank you for what you did… I was so surprised and a little scared with that dagger against my throat that I didn’t react. If it weren’t for your quick intervention, things could have turned out really bad… My father would have killed them, and that would certainly make him arrested. But… I think you need to be extra careful, from now on. Those guys might try to catch you by surprise, to get revenge. And judging by the angry looks that our Adventurers in here are making towards you, they didn’t like to get on the bad side of my father…”

Ronald stopped to think for a while. He then looked at Woof, but he was really, questioning Riattus:

- “What do you say? Shall I let things stay like this or do I make sure that none of these guys tries to slice my throat during sleep?”

Woof looked at him with his head tilted sideways, but Riattus was the one to answer:

- “If it was me, I would kill half of them, just to make sure that the others understood it was unwise to do anything against me. You can let things stay like this and conquer them with your smile. Or, you can challenge the one that looks stronger and beat him up. It’s your call.”

Ronald smiled and he turned to Mira again, that was puzzled.

- “Before I do something stupid, I have with me some portions of deer meat that I caught yesterday’s morning. Would the Guild be willing to buy it?”

- “Of course! Deer meat is difficult to come by because many of them are killed by the Monsters lurking in the forest. We have a Quest posted, asking for deer meat. Do you want to apply to that Quest, considering that you already have the meat with you?”

- “Yes, what do I need to do?”

- “Just place your name on it… here. The Guild Master is taking care of your Guild Card, he seems to be sure that you will be joining us. As soon as he has it ready, I will give it to you. So, according to the Quest, it’s ten copper coins for a portion for two people. How much do you have?”

Ronald opened his bag and took out four portions, wrapped in cloths and big tree leaves. Mira opened them and gasped.

- “This… it’s still so fresh… like if you just cut it… and why did you wrap them on these leaves? Did you smoke it? The smell is divine…”

- “Just a method that a friend taught me, years ago, to preserve meat. Smoke and tree leaves, with a piece of cloth wrapping up everything.”

Mira nodded and she went to the back office, to get the money. When she got back, she placed the coins on the counter, in four piles of ten copper coins each. She then took the meat to the kitchen, wrapped in the tree leaves and the cloth.

While Mira was leaving to the kitchen with the meat, a big man on a nearby table growled to another man than was next to him:

- “The nerve of that guy… first, he makes a mess in here and now he flirts with our beautiful Mira… he may need a lesson, to know his place…”

Ronald went to that table and he stood there, looking directly to the big man that had an enormous sword at his side. Ronald looked around to be certain that everyone could hear him, and he addressed the big man that was looking at him with anger:

- “So, it seems that everyone here is angry with me because the Guild Master scolded you all. Normally, I don’t do this, but I want to make sure that everyone understands that its unwise to try to attack me by surprise. It seems that you are the strongest around here. I don’t know if you are the best fighter, but you sure look strong. I wonder if you are also fast…”

The big man smiled with a mouth full of teeth in a really bad shape.

- “I am faster than you, boy, no doubts about it, and if you…”

Before he could finish his sentence, Ronald rushed to his side, took his sword, slammed his head against the table and pressed the sharpest edge of the sword against the man’s left cheek.

- “You would be wise to not underestimate me… as all of you… I can be a strong ally, a friend, and a member of this Guild, but if any of you attempts anything against me, I won’t hesitate on killing you all. Do I make myself clear?”

Ronald looked around and he saw a lot of surprised faces slowly nodding.

Mira returned from the kitchen and her jaw dropped when she saw what happened in her absence. The sight of Ronald with a big sword against the face of Ma Yangfa, the strongest man in the Guild, that had his face being squashed against a table and looking terrified, was too surprising.

Ronald let go of the big man and laid the sword on its place again. He then let go of him and waited for his reaction. Ma Yangfa quickly wiped the cold sweat that was rolling down his forehead before anyone noticed. Ronald made a small smile and lowered his voice:

- “I am truly sorry for this. I needed to make a point and I used you for that. Let me buy you a drink as compensation.”

Ma Yangfa spoke in a hoarse voice. He was so angry that he was almost growling again:

- “For this, only one drink won’t be enough.”

Ronald nodded.

- “Of course, you are completely right. What do you say if I pay one drink for every meal that you take here, for one week? In return, I would be glad if you accepted my sincere apologies and tried to not kill me when I am distracted.”

The big man stopped to think for a while with a serious look. He then made a genuine smile.

- “Yes, I can do that. I am Ma Yangfa, and you, stranger?”

- “I am Ronald O’Sullivan. I think I just became a member of this Guild. At least, the Guild Master said that he won’t let me leave here without making sure that I joined.”

Ma Yangfa laughed and even the table trembled by the high, strong laughter:

- “Ahahah! Yeah, he tends to do that. He did the same when I first came here, two years ago. Do you already have a Party?”

Before Ronald could answer, Duza placed one hand on Ronald’s right shoulder.

- “Yes, he has, Ma. Stop trying to take every strong member of this Guild to your Party! Don’t you have enough members? Come, Mister Ronald, the others want to speak a little more with you.”

- “In a moment, ok, Miss Duza?”

Since Ronald didn’t move and was looking at her with a serious look, she slowly took her hand from his shoulder.

- “Yes… of course… when you can, then…”

Duza left and she looked a little dumbfounded. Ma Yangfa lowered his voice:

- “You are a little crazy, aren’t you? No one would say Duza to wait!”

Ronald shrugged his shoulders.

- “Maybe that’s why she thinks that she can do and say what she wants because no one ever contradicts her. That way of acting will not work with me, I am afraid. I need to tell Miss Mira about our arrangement with your drinks.”

Ronald lowered his voice again and winked one eye:

- “Don’t worry, I won’t stand in your way. But you are too slow, two years and you didn’t make a move? One day, when you gather the courage to court her, it can be too late…”

Ronald slapped Ma Yangfa’s back and went near Mira.

- “Miss Mira, I wish to open an account.”

- “A what? What…”

- “Oh, I mean, I talked with Ma Yangfa, and because of my misunderstanding and as an apology, we agreed that I would pay one drink for every meal that he takes here, for one week. Can you take care of that? I would pay on the same day or the day afterwards, if possible.”

Mira blinked a few times and she looked at Ma Yangfa and back to Ronald again.

- “Did… Did he force you to do that?”

- “No, of course not! It was me that made a mess, again. He may not look like it, but he is very friendly. And that powerful laughter of his it’s amazing.”

Mira nodded, turning completely red.

- “Yes… I always liked to hear him laughing… He is also very strong, and he never denies help to a member of our Guild…”

Ronald lowered his voice:

- “It would be better if you made him realize how you feel about him or one of these days, he may find another woman and you will regret it…”

Mira was even redder, and she stuttered:

- “I… don’t know what you mean…”

Ronald smiled and looked at Woof.

- “What do you say, Woof, shall we go to our Party members? Or it would be better to make Miss Duza wait for a little while longer?”

Riattus laughed from his side.

- “Ahahah! Yeah, let’s make her sweat a little more! What does she think, that you are her pet or what?”

- “No, Woof, let’s go, she may think that I am being rude. Or the others… Not a good way of starting, right? Miss Mira, I think I and Woof would like to eat here. It’s possible?”

- “Sure, our kitchen is already preparing dinner for anyone that would want to eat. Normally, every Adventurer when he can, eats here. It’s cheap, you know?”

- “Ok, I think Miss Duza will allow me to join them for dinner, but if not, I can ask Ma Yangfa if I can join him.”

Mira smiled.

- “Yes, I am sure that either one of them, won’t mind having you.”

Ronald smiled and he went towards Duza’s table. He smiled at them as he seated. Ini was the first to speak:

- “You really like to search for trouble, don’t you? What was that about, with Ma Yangfa?”

- “Just a way to warn everyone. It was that or killing half the persons in here so that the others realized that it’s not a very good idea to attack me when I am sleeping.”

Reylom turned to him with a very concerned look on his eyes.

- “That… wouldn’t be a good way to keep you on God Seya’s path…”

Ronald smiled.

- “If I am not mistaken, God Seya was known for never leaving alive an enemy that would kill him by surprise. Before he became a Deity, I mean…”

- “Where did you hear such blasphemy? God Seya is kind and merciful, he would never do such a thing!”

Ronald frowned.

- “Really? What about the two armies that he killed with Fire Magic, and the two Castles with the Royal Families still inside?”

- “That… That was divine punishment!”

- “I see… I need to learn more about your points of view concerning God Seya. Please don’t think bad of me if what I was taught, differs from your beliefs.”

Reylom agreed, but he was still upset:

- “I… Will make sure to put you in the right path, young man. I swear!”

- “There is no need to swear, Mister Reylom. Just you be willing to speak to me about such a sensitive subject, would be enough.”

Ovaidel leaned forward over the table.

- “You know, hearing you calling everyone as Mister or Miss is starting to annoy me. Do you have to address like that everyone you meet?”

- “No, but I prefer to be polite than to be mistaken by a rude Dwarf…”

Ovaidel started to snort, but before he could say anything, Ronald smiled and explained:

- “What? Votkir, my childhood friend and the most annoying Half-Breed Dwarf that you would ever meet, always laughed when someone compared me with a Dwarf, considering that he was always polite and friendly, and I was a total menace while growing up! I miss that guy… He named his first son as Ronald, just to laugh on my expenses, by saying that he now knows a Ronald Dwarf!”

Ini was curious.

- “What happened to him? Did he… died?”

- “No, he moved to a different City. But he never stays put, he really likes to travel. I never met a Dwarf that liked so much the outdoors!”

While Ovaidel was calming down, Ini smiled to Ronald.

- “Maybe you meet him again, on one of our journeys.”

Ronald made a small smile.

- “Yeah… that would be amazing… Or Vola… My dangerous and crazy Elfian friend… The most amazing Elfian that I ever met in my life. She used to punch me every time she saw me, just because fifteen years ago I said that she looked like a dried-up bush. She is an amazing hunter, able to track and hunt any animal or criminal that she sets her mind into.”

Ini raised one eyebrow.

- “You have an unusual set of friends…”

- “Yeah… That’s what normally happens when a person grows up in an orphanage… he tends to see people in a different way, willing to see the best in people, even if no one else sees it. Votkir was always in problems, trying to keep Vola out of troubles. Eventually, I joined the gang, when I had a minor disagreement with her that ended on Votkir knocking us out, to stop us from killing each other. We became inseparable. I learned a lot with them, including their ancient heritage. And it seems I also picked up the politeness of Votkir and the bad temper of Vola.”

Duza bitted her lip.

- “It seems you have strong feelings about her…”

- “Yeah… I was in love with her, and Votkir too. The problem was that Vola was also in love with him. In the end, they became a couple. But we remained friends, for all these years.”

Duza was a little restless, she couldn’t stay still on her chair.

- “And… What about your wife?”

Ronald went silent. A family was something that he never had, and that cover story that Riattus thought for him made him depressed every time that subject came up. Duza and the others thought that his silence and serious look towards his crossed fingers over the table, where a display of someone that was grieving the loss of loved ones. They didn’t continue speaking about that matter. Fortunately for them, before the silence became awkward, Mira and a servant came with the dinner.

- “Hello, everyone. Place for one more?”

Ronald got up and with a smile, pulled a chair for her, after looking at the others.

- “It would be great if you could join us, Miss Mira.”

Mira smiled and seated. She then looked down, because Woof was sniffing her left leg.

- “He… Is he smelling me to see if I am eatable?”

Ronald looked at Woof and he was seated on the floor and waving his tail.

- “He seems to like you. But he can also be hungry…”

The servant placed a small dish full of meat on the floor and a bowl of water, a little hesitant. Mira was watching while Woof sniffed the meat and started to eat.

- “Yeah, he was hungry. For a moment I thought the worse!”

Ronald laughed while tapping Woof’s back.

- “No, he only tries to eat someone when I tell him to. Most of the times, he is very well behaved. More than some Humans, for sure.”

- “But where did you find him? And what did you do for him to follow you around? I never saw or heard of a wolf doing that!”

- “We found each other, actually. At first, he was a little curious about me, but it seems that I conquered him. Lucky for me, because travelling all alone would be too dangerous.”

Mira started to eat while waiting for a full story. Since he didn’t say anything, Duza told her what she heard from him in the back office. Mira was munching some meat while thinking. After a cup of water, she asked him:

- “So, you came from Terbik… it’s a long walk from there to here. Did you cross Thetria to come here? And Breidan? And you came out from there, unscathed?”

Ronald shook his head while eating.

- “No, Pigliapo, Breidan by night, and also by night, the forest that serves as a border. I was looking for a peaceful place to live, not trying to get myself killed. I had more trouble in the forest than on all my journey, but I still managed to get here.”

Mira looked from the corner of her eye to Duza, and she saw her hiding a smile. So, she continued:

- “And your family? May I ask what happened?”

Ronald became silent for a while. He then answered, after making sure that Woof had finished eating.

- “Goblins. While I was in the field. The screams… Well, if you excuse me, I need to go to sleep. I haven’t had a proper night of sleep, for quite some time. Tomorrow morning, I want to take a tour around town. But… I don’t know if it’s safe to take this guy with me… Maybe it would be better if I postpone my visit. Well, I will see about that tomorrow. He needs to sleep too.”

Mira was caressing Woof’s right ear.

- “If you want, he can stay with me behind my desk while you go for a walk. If he doesn’t try to eat me, I mean.”

Ronald looked at her, surprised by the offer, but he shook his head.

- “Better not. And he prefers cooked meat, by the way. But if someone tries to threaten you, he may well kill the one that would be stupid enough to do such a thing in front of him. Maybe that’s not a good idea…”

Mira smiled while still caressing Woof.

- “That sounds just perfect for me. Many of these guys always try to annoy me. It would be great, having a wolf next to me, one that I could order to snatch a piece of someone that thought it would be funny, seeing me get mad.”

- “You know what, it really sounds like a good idea. So, let me just teach you some orders that he knows and obeys. You need to say his name and then the order. Like this. Woof, stay! See, he sits and looks at me, waiting to see if he can be at ease next, or if he must stay like that for hours. Woof, lay down! Good boy… See, if you say that he is a good boy and you rub his ear, he knows that he can relax. Let me see, what else… You can order him to get ready, and like that, he will be alert to any sudden movement and attack anyone that makes a move towards you. Even if it’s just your father, that suddenly hugs you. And on an extreme case, if you order him to kill, he will aim for vital points, and will only stop when his target is dead, if you order him to stop or if he dies.”

Mira had her eyes wide opened.

- “Did you teach him all that? How?”

Ronald shrugged his shoulders.

- “I don’t know if he will obey you if you order him, but it should work… let me see… Woof, look at her, see? She is Miss Mira, a friend. Tomorrow you will stay with her, to keep her safe, ok? Speak one time if you understand me.”

Woof!

- “Ok… you really understand me?”

Woof!

Ronald frowned.

- “Yeah… seems he knows what I mean… Sometimes he surprises me and makes me forget that he has four paws and a mouth full of teeth… Well, thanks everyone, but we must leave. See you all tomorrow.”

Mira looked at Duza from the corner of her eye and she had an idea.

- “Maybe it would be better if Duza went with you tomorrow because you might get lost or lose the opportunity to visit some of the City’s most beautiful places.”

Duza coughed, choked with her water. Mira kicked her leg from under the table to quiet her down and made a signal with her head. Duza cleaned her chin from the spilled water.

- “Yeah… I can do that, if you want. It would be better, for you to not do anything stupid that might get you killed or arrested.”

Ronald made a small bow.

- “It would be my honour, Miss Duza. See you tomorrow, then.”

Ronald left with Woof at his side, held by the rope. Duza tapped Mira’s back.

- “Way to go, Mira! We were wondering how we could ask him about his voyage, to see if we could trust what he said in the back office, and you just made him open up. But that idea of yours, for me to accompany him… from where did that come?”

Mira made a weird smile and winked one eye.

- “What? Are you sure you want that such a good-looking man walks on this City all alone? With so many single women looking for a husband? Duza, Duza, sometimes you worry me… It’s not possible that I was the only one to notice the way you were looking at him since he entered the Guild’s front door!”

Duza turned bright red, but before she could say anything, Ini agreed with Mira:

- “We both noticed… But either way, be careful, we don’t know if he can be trusted. But it’s rather amusing, seeing the stubborn Duza getting so flustered for a man, like a normal young lady.”

Duza punched his chest with a powerful forward hit that made Ini gasp for air.

- “Are you saying that I am not a normal young lady, you piece of “shilum”?”

Ini winked one eye to Reylom that was laughing.

- “See… Really funny, right? Ouch, my chest hurts…”

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