The Normal Farmer

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Chapter 5

Ronald turned back to face a smiling Feebles and the young couple that wanted to hire Duza’s Party.

- “Mister Feebles… and Mister Taly… Miss Ari… since when are you…”

Taly was smiling.

- “We entered right after you, but you were so distracted talking with that woman in the green dress that you did not even saw us. Love is such a beautiful thing, isn’t it? So, while we eat, can we talk with your Party Leader?”

Ronald pointed with his hand towards Duza.

- “I think so, but you can ask her, she is Miss Duza Sonanji.”

Taly had some trouble stopping his laughter and Ari elbowed him on his side.

- “Stop that, you stupid brat! Forgive this guy, Miss Duza, he has the bad habit of speaking before thinking. But you must also agree that seeing you like that after being told about your reputation as a dangerous Adventurer in this City is too surprising in its own manner.”

Duza nodded while frowning towards Mira.

- “Yeah, I knew it was a bad idea putting on this dress, but my sister thought it would look good on me and it would also be appropriate for a walk around the City…”

Ari smiled.

- “She was right, you know? It does look good on you. And judging by the looks these guys around us are making, I am not the only one thinking that way.”

Duza took a quick look around and she noticed some appreciative looks towards her. She felt a little awkward, and she didn’t know what to say. Ari held her arm and pointed to an empty table.

- “Shall we seat over there? You may have some questions for us, and we have some for you as well.”

Duza pointed to the table where Ini, Ovaidel, and Reylom were.

- “Over there, near my companions. We need to join one more table to make room for all of us.”

- “As you wish. Taly, dear, can you get some chairs for us? Or you are really waiting to see if someone works for you? Don’t you frown at me, move already! Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with him! Men…”

Duza smiled, and she went to meet the others. Ronald followed her, with Woof at one side and Feebles on the other. Mira and a servant brought food for everyone. When they seated, Feebles asked:

- “I don’t know if I can be here, you wish to talk among yourselves, I am not needed for…”

Duza interrupted him.

- “By all means, Mister Feebles, you were the one to arrange all this. If you didn’t talk about Ronald to them, we wouldn’t be here. So, first thing first, who are you two?”

Ari slowly shook her head.

- “No need to know, for the completion of the job for which we are hiring you.”

- “Neither the less, I need to know that, or at least, be assured that you aren’t being targeted by some envious Noble family that wants your lands. And also, to believe that you won’t run from us without paying for the escort service.”

- “That will not be a problem. No one knows us in this region, and we left our country disguised as Merchants in a caravan that was leaving. And trust goes both ways, Miss Duza. We trust in a man that was able to gain the trust of a wild wolf. We trust you because he does. As for the others… Well, let’s just say that I don’t like what I see. A beardy tall man that looks angry with everything, another one that is looking at me with mischievous eyes like if he wants to undress me by force, and another one that’s hiding his features by that hood over his head. But if you trust them, so shall we. As for the payment, we already told Mister Ronald the amount and our terms for the payment.”

While Ini was holding his laughter, Ovaidel was frowning and Reylom choked with a piece of bread. Duza leaned forward and crossed her fingers on top of the table. Ronald had to do a lot of effort for not staring at her cleavage. She didn’t seem to notice that she had so much power over healthy men, with her natural attributes.

- “You can trust them, we came along way, over these past few years. They may not look like it, as do I, in these clothes, but we are all very good at this job. The only one that I can’t vouch, it’s Ronald, we just met him yesterday. But it’s as you said, if that wolf trusts him, so do we. But since he entered those doors yesterday, he has shown a strong character, convictions, and an acute sense of honour. I believe you are in good hands if you choose us as your escort.”

Ari made a small smile.

- “Ok, I will trust you on that. But if that man touches me in a weird way or if I catch him looking at me while I am naked and taking a bath, I will kill him without any hesitation. “

While Reylom looked insulted, Duza tried to calm Ari:

- “You don’t need to worry about Reylom. He used to be a Priest from the Diocese of Thetria.”

- “That’s not even slightly reassuring. Priests from there are used to have their own way, and many are rumoured to be misguided from God Seya’s teachings.”

Reylom spoke, with a very serious look on his face:

- “That’s the reason why I left Thetria. I couldn’t concur with some things that I saw, and I couldn’t do a thing to stop it… Some Priests are already lost, but many others are honoured. You can’t put us all in the same bag. And I wasn’t looking at you in a weird way, I am surprised because you are very beautiful while being so young.”

Ari made a frown.

- “Either way, consider yourself warned, “former Priest”. It’s better for your health that I don’t catch you again, looking at me like that. You may say that I am wrong, or you may say that you are trustworthy, but I can perfectly recognize a man that likes young women a little too much. You can’t fool me, “former Priest”, and I am also way more dangerous than I look. You would be wise about keeping yourself on my good side, or we are going to have some problems.”

Taly placed one hand over Ari’s left hand and squeezed it a little.

- “Ari, come on… I warned you already about that. If a man tries to undress you with his eyes, that doesn’t mean that he will try to do it by force… You must excuse my fiancée, Mister Reylom, she encountered some situations with Priests throughout our journey, and it didn’t go well. For them, I mean. But because it happened too many times and always with Priests, she tends to be a little… how can I say this… biased to think badly of Priests? But don’t worry, I will keep a watch over her behaviour. But it’s better for the sake of a peaceful journey, that you avoid upsetting her. When she gets mad, I have a lot of trouble stopping her. She may not look like it, but she is an amazing fighter, capable of defeating everyone in this room, even if they attack at the same time. Not to mention her ability with Magic. That part is scary…”

Taly trembled a little and strongly shook his head, like if he was trying to get rid of some bad memories.

Ari made a forced smile and faced Duza.

- “Please don’t think badly of me, but everyone has some trauma in the past. While some continue their lives as if nothing had happened, others have deeper wounds, very difficult to forget. I hope this doesn’t difficult your job or make you deny our Quest.”

Duza looked at the others and after receiving some nods, she agreed:

- “I understand why you may feel that way. But I would appreciate that you took a deep thought on that part along the journey. Reylom might also save your life if trouble appears. Or die to protect you. You are right, he likes younger women a little too much. But he is also completely crazy about little kids. That’s why we always go on jobs where there are missing kids, or someone kills one. Sometimes we lost the payment of a Quest because we made the bad decision of leaving him next to the assassins. There wasn’t much left to collect the prize after he finished…”

Taly looked around.

- “So, we have a deal? Good. And as accorded previously… here, five gold coins. At the end of our journey, we will pay the rest, along with an extra for the wolf and Mister Ronald’s cooking. I hope you can take care of the supplies for our journey, and it would be good for my headaches if every two days we could sleep in an Inn because Ari becomes very grumpy if she doesn’t sleep properly and that always gives me headaches. What? You know you become very obnoxious without proper sleep, always nagging and complaining! Miss Duza, have you thought on the path that we will take, to get to Argoheria?”

Duza opened a map of that region that Ini gave to her.

- “We talked about that, early this morning. We can go by horse along Kwoghia, Rediorumia, Thetria, get a boat in Thetria and go by sea until Argoheria. We think that in less than four months we will arrive at Argoheria. Since you have a carriage, I want to ask if the wolf could be allowed to go on top of it, to warn us of any danger around or ahead of us. How many horses does your carriage have? We must buy enough grain for our horses and yours as well.”

Ari smiled and shook her head.

- “Our carriage doesn’t have horses. I use Magical Cards to summon two “Big Dark Bulls” and those guys don’t eat.”

Duza and the others were surprised. Duza stuttered for a while:

- “Those… high-level Magical Beings… so, so rare…”

- “Not to mention my other Cards. Now you understand why we started our voyage all alone? We didn’t need protection. I was the one that got tired of so much fighting. Taly on the other hand, never gets enough.”

Taly was looking at the map and following the roads with his right index finger. He frowned for a while and then he smiled while looking at Ronald.

- “Here is a thought… Considering that you could level up from your lower position as a Farmer, what do you say if when we get to… here, near this curve, we both went for a one-day trip to Zakrosia and we meet the others… here, in Thetria.”

Ari pointed at him with her thumb while smiling to Duza.

- “See? Better if we keep him under a close watch, or he will sneak up to go to Zakrosia all alone.”

Duza was frowning while looking at the map.

- “Well… Ronald could take this opportunity to…”

Before she could say anything more, Ronald interrupted.

- “No, I don’t need to seek for trouble. Normally, trouble seeks me. We all want a safe trip without too much danger, correct? I think that little excursion to Zakrosia…”

Before he could complete, Riattus spoke next to his ear.

- “Go for it. Such a great opportunity for level up doesn’t appear so often. And this little guy seems like he can take care of himself if needed. I think he is way stronger than he looks. Or, you could go all alone, with the excuse to look for some hunt. If you agree with his idea, you will have some problems explaining your stats, but we can take care of it with your Sphere. It would also be a good opportunity to test this group. If they can keep a secret the fact that you have more Mana than you should, you will level up easier, without the need to be so secretive near them. If we came up to the conclusion that they can’t be trusted, we just go to another country as fast as we can. Considering that you can rid that Big Rat of yours and since he is faster than a horse, if it comes up to that, you can get away from them really fast. It would be good if you said that you have a Magical Being that can carry you, as long as someone gets a saddle for it and teach you how to ride.”

Ronald continued his sentence…

- “Well, maybe it’s a good idea, after all. I could improve a lot… And catch some hunt, in the meantime.”

Duza bit her lip.

- “Maybe it would be better if we all go so that you…”

Ronald shook his head.

- “No, only me, Woof and Mister Taly will be enough. If we find more danger than we could chew, we just get away the fastest we can. I intended to level up while hunting but killing some Monsters would be faster.”

Taly was all smiles.

- “Great. You can even take all the Mana Orbs, I don’t need to level up anytime soon, I just want to kill some Monsters. I was told that their numbers increased to a dangerous level, and sooner or later, they will start to invade the nearby countries. We could take this chance to thin them down a bit.”

Duza was still biting her lip but because everyone was smiling and giving ideas to help Ronald decide on his actions if he encountered a great number of Monsters, she concealed her concerns. But Ari noticed her and whispered:

- “Don’t worry, Taly is more powerful than he looks. If needed, he could eradicate all the Monsters in Zakrosia, all by himself.”

Duza whispered back:

- “Maybe, but Ronald wanted to lay low. If he levels up too quickly, he may attract more attention than he needs, and that can be dangerous.”

- “We don’t tell if your guys don’t tell. Who knows, maybe Mister Ronald gets so strong that he will be worthy of being with you. I noticed the way you two look at each other. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. Just don’t let Taly realize that, or he will tease you a lot.”

Duza was surprised. How could she tell? Duza thought that she was hiding her feelings from everyone, even from herself, but maybe that wasn’t the case. Or maybe Ronald impressed her more than she thought, with his actions in the City. It was as she thought on the very first moment that she saw him entering the Guild, he was interesting. Very interesting indeed.

The rest of the meeting went smoothly, with the making of the list of supplies and quantities that they would need for the entire journey. Ari was happily rubbing Woof’s left ear while he had his head on her lap. Taly was looking at the map and measuring the distance between the Villages and Cities that Reylom and Ovaidel were pointing out, to find where he and Ari could sleep every two days. Since their carriage had enough space and the benches could be transformed into beds, he and Ari could sleep in there for one night and on the other, in an Inn at the next village or City. The others could camp, and that would mean that they need some mules to carry some camping material and extra supplies. They had three mules and four horses, but with Ronald joining them, they would need another horse. Or so they thought until Ronald said that he only needed a horse’s saddle and riding lessons. That intrigued Ovaidel, and he pointed at Woof.

- “What do you mean by you only need a saddle? You intend on riding him?”

- “Ahahah! No, but I have one Magical Card that I want to try out. I was told that I could rid that guy, but I never tried until now.”

Ovaidel was finally smiling.

- “Ok… Well, if it’s a Magical Being, we don’t need food for him, right? And when he disappears and while you recover your Mana, you can ride on top of the carriage next to Woof. Well, one less thing to take care of. Seems that we will not spend too much money on supplies, after all. I thought that one more horse, a mule and grain for all the horses, would be a lot of money. But with Magical Bulls pulling the carriage and Ronald with a Magical ride, things look very promising.”

Taly smiled.

- “Considering that supplies are on us, you are getting a huge sum of money for this escort job. Which means that you can sleep in an Inn from time to time, instead of only camping out. This journey looks like it will be a lot of fun unless we encounter trouble, I mean.”

That remark granted him a punch on his shoulder by Ari.

- “Do you mind not saying that? Every time you say something just as stupid, “shilum” things always happen!”

- “Yeah, sorry about that, my dear. So, since we have almost everything settled, I think we can leave the rest with you guys. We could take the rest of this day to take a walk around. We went to a few places during the morning, we even saw you two in the Market but then four Guards appeared making a mess in there before we could greet you, so we left to go hide in an old woman’s Card Shop.”

Ari gave one last rub on Woof’s ear and she also got up.

- “Well, we will see each other again tomorrow morning for the final preparations. It would be good if you thought about what else we could need so that you could get it tomorrow so that after lunch, we could leave this City and start our voyage. One last thing, because we want to know a little more about this region and the people living on it, it would be great if when we arrived at a City or a village, we could have some time to visit and talk with the people.”

Duza smiled, and she got up to make a slight bow.

- “As you wish, Miss Ari. Mister Taly, it was a pleasure.”

Taly shook his head.

- “Stop with the courteous treatment, ok? We don’t want to attract too much attention on our journey. From now on, we are Taly and Ari. Only that, ok? The only Mister here, it’s Mister Ronald, and that’s only because he treats everyone as Mister and Miss. I don’t know why, but I tend to treat him like that too. Weird, right?”

They all looked at Ronald while smiling, and he just frowned.

- “What? Politeness is a virtue! You prefer that I resembled more with Mister Ovaidel, that always looks angry with everyone?”

Ovaidel snorted.

- “What do you mean by that? I am not angry!”

Ronald shrugged his shoulders.

- “You could fool me… You need to smile more. Or you will never find any friends…”

They all laughed with that remark, even Ovaidel. Taly and Ari left after giving Duza three silver coins and twenty copper coins for the supplies, and Ronald excused himself, he had something to discuss with the Guild Master. Mira guided him to the back office, where her father was. Upon entering, Ronald saw him looking at the map of that region, a little worried.

- “Hello, Mister Ronald, have a seat. I am glad that you came, I was about to go meet you. I was told that you are going with Duza on an escort service towards Argoheria and that will take some months. I still owe you three silver coins for the Blue Brittlebush leaves. So, I was wondering, do you want that money now? Because as I said, I don’t have that amount right now.”

- “That’s not a problem, you can pay me upon our return. I intend on returning, I don’t want to die in the next months.”

Haje frowned, and he went silent for a while. After a few moments, he took a deep breath and continued:

- “How did things go with your walk with Duza?”

- “Very well, actually. She is fun to be with. And a wonderful guide.”

- “That was not what I was asking…”

- “I know, but you didn’t ask it very well. I just went with the flow.”

- “Fair enough… So, what are your intentions towards my older daughter?”

- “Well, I... I like her… a lot… but I just met her yesterday. I know it’s too soon and I still don’t know what she thinks of me. But you can rest assured, I don’t make a habit of seducing women everywhere I go. She is special, in a way that I can’t truly put my finger on. She is very friendly and kind, but today we had a situation with some Guards and her violent behaviour surprised me. She looked like a different person.”

- “I heard that you are like that as well. That’s why I am worried. Are you going to give her problems or put her in any kind of danger?”

- “Are you really asking me that, considering the dangerous voyage that we have ahead?”

Haje nodded.

- “That’s exactly why I am asking. Can I count on you to protect her?”

- “Yes… I can even say that if everyone is in danger, she is the one that I will rush to help without even thinking. Wait… Maybe I shouldn’t say this out loud… It is supposed that I try to help all the members of my Party, right?”

- “Well, as a Guild Master, that worries me. But as a father, it makes me happy. Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I know my daughter, and I never saw her smiling so much, as she does when you are near. I hope you take good care of her, from now on. And I will say no more, this is turning out too awkward, it sounded better in my head!”

Ronald was making a small smile.

- “Yeah, I don’t feel as comfortable as I thought, talking about this subject with you. Well, I need to go, because Miss Duza may need help to get the supplies. I am the Carrier, I am supposed to take care of that, right?”

Ronald left, leaving behind a smiling Guild Master. When he got near his table again, Feebles was saying his farewells.

- “Oh, Mister Ronald, I was just waiting for you. I need to leave to take care of some business. Last time I checked, I was a Merchant, but because of every distraction that you provide, I keep on forgetting my work! Are you going to have dinner here or at the Inn? If you won’t mind, I would like to have a last meal with you before your departure. I guess that tomorrow you won’t have time available for that, with some last-minute preparations.”

- “Of course, Mister Feebles, it will be an honour. I can join you at the Inn for dinner if you want.”

Feebles smiled while nervously looking around.

- “I would prefer that because all these violent people in here get on my nerves! I think I saw one guy on that corner taking my measures, like if he wanted to slice a piece of my meat!”

- “Ahahahah! Don’t worry, Mister Feebles. If someone tried that, Woof would be the first to stop them. Miss Duza, if you want, I can go to the market and buy the supplies. I remember the way and where were the stalls.”

Before she could say anything, Mira spoke from behind him:

- “I can go with him! I need to buy some things for today’s dinner!”

Ronald looked towards Ma Yangfa’s direction and saw him looking away.

- “Ok, as long as we take Mister Ma with us. It would be funny, such a big man working as our escort. We can make him carry all our stuff, it would be even better.”

Mira pretended to be shocked.

- “Mister Ronald, you are so mean! Yeah, let’s invite him too.”

Mira went in Ma’s direction and Ini asked:

- “One in the morning, another in the afternoon? Mister Ronald, I never thought you were such a ladies killer!!

Ronald waved both hands.

- “No, that was never my intention! I even suggested that we invited Ma, so that… never mind… Excuse me, I must make sure that he doesn’t get the wrong idea as well!”

Ronald rushed to join Mira and Ma while Duza was smiling. Ini noticed, even when she tried to disguise it and teased her, pretending to be serious.

- “That guy is weird…”

Duza whispered.

- “I think he is sweet…”

But Ini heard her. His hearing was way better than a Human.

- “Sweet for what?”

- “For… wanting to help everyone around him…”

Ini frowned.

- “Or he is just stupid… Helping everyone is a good way of getting killed, around here. But I don’t know why I like him. He seems… naïve would be the proper word, but it is also a little mean… I guess calling him a “good soul” would be better. Yes, that’s it, that guy has a good soul. I do hope he doesn’t lose that goodness of him.”

Duza looked into Ronald’s direction, he was talking with Ma and he had a genuine smile on his face. He looked so beautiful with that smile. She then realized what she just thought and turned bright red. She covered her face with her hands to disguise it. Ovaidel and Reylom were looking at the map and talking with each other, and they didn’t see that. But when Duza looked at Ini from between her fingers, she saw him making a slight smile. He made a slow nod with his head, like reassuring her that secret was safe. They both watched while Ronald, Ma, and Mira were leaving the Guild, carrying some empty bags on two pushcarts.

---

At the market, Ronald went straight to the stalls with the potatoes and rice. After that, the dried meat and dried vegetables with some fresh vegetables for the kitchen of the Guild. While Mira was choosing the vegetables, Ronald was near Ma Yangfa and whispered at him while pointing to the Card Shop where he went in the morning with Duza:

- “I was told that young couples often go to that Shop, and the man buys a “Light Ray” Spell Card for the woman, as a protection against bandits and mean men, that tries to harass her. What do you say? Want to give her one?”

Ma was surprised, and he looked a little awkward.

- “Such a thing… She might not want it if it’s me giving her…”

- “You will only know if you try. Well, she could be so happy that she kisses you. But if she gets angry at you for thinking that she would like that, at least you will find out what she feels about you. I could be the one giving it to her, but I bet that she would prefer that it was you.”

Ma kicked a small rock on the floor while thinking.

- “I don’t know…”

- “Coward…”

Ma frowned.

- “What did you call me?”

- “You heard me, you coward. Afraid of a small woman. How can you be an Adventurer, if you are so afraid of a young woman like her?”

Ma looked at Mira, and he continued whispering:

- “You would also be afraid of her if you knew what she is capable of. She may not be an amazing fighter like Duza, but her level as a Mage is scary. She doesn’t like violence or fighting as much as Duza, but sometimes she helps out on a Quest if a Party needs an extra Mage.”

- “I didn’t know that… But you are mistaken. Miss Duza doesn’t like fighting as much as she pretends to do. I guess she only fights because she has no choice. But you are changing topics. You want to give her that Card or not, you coward?”

Ma gave him a light punch on the shoulder.

- “Stop calling me that, you crazy bastard! No one at the Guild would dare to call me that in my face!”

- “Lousy, ugly, disgusting coward… I don’t know how you can sleep at night, you coward little man…”

Ma shouted while shaking Ronald by his collar.

- “Stop that, you crazy! Aargh! You are so annoying!”

Mira looked behind because of the sudden shout and she noticed Ma’s angry face.

- “What’s the matter? Why are you so mad?”

Ronald shrugged his shoulders.

- “Nothing much, Ma was saying that he wanted to go to that Card Shop to buy you a present, and I was saying that you would take his head off if he dared to do that.”

Ma was opening his mouth to contradict him, but Mira turned bright red and stuttered:

- “I… wouldn’t… never do that… I… would be happy…”

Ma coughed, choked with his saliva.

- “You… would? Great… can we go there?”

Ronald grabbed one of the pushcarts and pointed with his head to the other one.

- “Quick, Mister Ma, grab that and let’s go, before she changes her mind!”

They all went to the Card Shop, and they placed the pushcarts at one side of the front door with Woof guarding them. When they entered, the old woman recognized Ronald.

- “Hello again, young man! Did you come to buy anything else? Where is that beautiful girlfriend of yours?”

Ronald made a small smile while noticing the grin on Ma and Mira’s faces.

- “She had some things to take care of. But I brought a friend.”

While Ma was nodding and Mira was looking around the shop, Ronald whispered to the old seller:

- “Do you have another one of those Light Ray Cards? My friend wants to surprise her, to check her reaction and to test her feelings.”

The old woman nodded and whispered back:

- “I have it right here. Let me get it.”

The old woman grabbed the small wooden chest from the top drawer and from there, she took the Card. Ma called Mira while pointing at it:

- “Miss Mira, do you have one of these?”

Mira turned bright red.

- “No… this one… normally a man gives it to the woman as protection… and proof of love… no one ever offered one of these… to me…”

Ma looked at the old woman, very seriously.

- “I would want to buy this one, please.”

Ma paid it and with a trembling hand, gave it to Mira.

- “I… would like to… offer this to you. If you accept it, I would be the happiest man in the World… if not… no harm is done…”

Mira grabbed the Card and held it next to her chest.

- “Thanks… Ma…”

The old woman wiped a small tear that was rolling down her wrinkled face.

- “Young love is such a beautiful thing… my late husband gave one to me many years ago, as a proof of his love, in a Shop like this one… I never get tired of seeing this kind of situations.”

Ronald made a slight bow to the old seller while Mira and Ma were smiling at each other.

- “Thank you for this. We must leave, we need to take our pushcarts back to the Guild.”

They left the shop with the old woman waving at them and wiping her tears. At the outside and while Ma and Mira were still looking at each other with a smile, Ronald emptied the contents of both carts on the floor, placed one cart inside the other and the supplies on top of everything. He then grabbed the handles of the bottom one and pulled everything up. He started to walk in the direction of the Guild, and he spoke to Ma while leaving:

- “Mister Ma, buy some food and tea for Miss Mira, I can take care of this. Don’t you dare to come with me and waste this opportunity to be alone with that beautiful woman!”

Ma pointed to the full pushcart that Ronald was pushing without any kind of effort.

- “How are you able to take all that? That’s…”

But Ronald interrupted him.

- “Are you really wasting time with me while Miss Mira is right there next to you, looking so happy? You are not only a coward, but you are also stupid! Take care of her, you crazy! Do I need to smack your head to put some sense on that thick head of yours?”

Ronald ducked and started to run with Woof following him, to avoid one of Ma’s punches. Mira tilted her head, looking at him leaving.

- “How can he run while pushing all that weight?”

- “I really don’t know. I didn’t even have time to react yesterday when he grabbed me on the Guild and pushed my head against the table. He is way faster and stronger than he looks.”

- “Yeah… What was that about, yesterday? That surprised me!”

- “He said he just did that as a warning to the others. He chose the strongest fighter in there, to make a point. I was a little angry with him at first, but after he explained his motives while looking so worried about what I could think of that, I understood why he did it. He even offered to pay for my drinks for an entire week, as an excuse.”

- “So that was what happened… Yeah, I can understand why my sister is so amazed by him. He does things like what he just did with us, like if it was the most natural thing in the World!”

Ma nodded and turned a little red.

- “Yeah… if it wasn’t for all that he said yesterday to me and calling me a coward today, I wouldn’t have the courage to give you that present.”

- “Really? Well, you took a lot of time, to gather some courage. I was waiting all this time and thinking that you didn’t like me!”

- “Sorry… but, I also thought that you didn’t like me… It was him that warn me yesterday that I was taking too much time to do something about what I felt…”

Mira opened wide her eyes.

- “He said the same thing to me! How did he know?”

Ma slowly shook his head and pointed to a nearby stall.

- “I don’t know, I thought I was hiding it very well… Do you want to eat some cookies from there?”

Mira held his arm with a smile.

- “Yes, please.”

While Ma and Mira were happily eating and talking, Ronald arrived at the Guild with Woof and the supplies. A servant opened the back gate and he dropped the contents of the carts at a corner, pointing to the supplies that Mira bought for the Guild so that the servant could take them inside. When he was leaving again to buy grain for the horses, Duza came from the back door and saw him.

- “You are back so soon? Where are Mira and Ma? I didn’t saw them inside. You lost them?”

- “No. I kind of convinced Ma to go to that old woman’s Card Shop and to offer a “Light Ray” Card to Mira. I left them in the Market, all alone. Don’t worry, Mira was very happy.”

- “You… you did what? But I thought you also liked her…”

- “What are you talking about? You didn’t know that they liked each other?”

- “I did! Well, I knew that Mira liked him, and I noticed Ma looking at her a few times. But she is very beautiful, a lot of guys are always looking at her, I didn’t think…”

- “And what’s that about, saying that I also liked her? Woman, you are crazier than I thought! I don’t offer special Spell Cards to every woman that I meet! Stop saying crazy things and come with me, I need to buy more stuff.”

- “But… I can’t leave the front desk all alone. I must wait for Mira, so that…”

- “Find a servant for that. Or the Guild Master. Damn, woman! I’m trying to find an excuse to be all alone with you again, the least you could do is help me out! I was going to look for a private place to grab you and kiss you and you are trying to escape? I really should have tried my luck with Miss Mira… Ok, stay here then, I will go with Woof. We will have more opportunities during our travel.”

When Ronald turned his back to go away, Duza grabbed his right arm.

- “No, wait! I… can go with you… to help! Not the grabbing and the kissing! I will be right back, let me find someone for the front desk.”

Duza ran to the Guild through the back door with her face a little red. Ronald smiled and spoke to Woof:

- “She is rather funny, isn’t she? What do you think? I am pushing a little too much and I should be slower? Yeah, maybe you are right. I don’t want to spook her. She may be a strong Adventurer, but with me messing with her so much, might cause her to start avoiding me. Ok, I will do as you say, thanks for the advice.”

Woof was tilting his head sideways for the entire conversation, trying to understand what that strange Human was saying. He could more or less understand him, but everything that Human just said, didn’t make much sense. Riattus was laughing near them thinking that Ronald was indeed a funny distraction.

Duza returned a few moments later, with a list on her hand.

- “These are some things that the guys asked if you could get. I can guide you to some of these places, considering that you don’t know this City very well.”

Ronald looked at the list, frowning.

- “Arrows, daggers, some big water canteens, thick blankets, pots, pans and tableware… Yeah, we need this alright… Ok, lead the way, then. Don’t worry, I am not going to grab you or push my luck anymore. I don’t want you to hate me. I want to conquer you, not annoy you. Shall we go?”

Before she could say anything, Ronald pushed the cart with Woof walking at his side. She mumbled to herself when he couldn’t hear her:

- “I wouldn’t mind much, with a little grabbing and a small kiss… What I am saying… Calm down Duza, you will scare him or make him think badly of you…”

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