A Skill Whore's Journey

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Working the Leather part 1

The bustling village reaches my ears as we finally leave the forest and enter the plains full of cute little rabbits.

I kill a couple on the way back, simply because I don’t want them to turn into complete
monsters…

Heading towards the village, pretty much everyone is leaving it, to go do quests in the forest probably.

Entering the village, I see the NPC’s going about their morning duties and the Village Elder standing tiredly by the entrance.

“Good Morning ladies and you” His elderly face wrinkles up slightly as he looks at me.

I thought he liked me…oh! So that’s what having negative intimacy does. Hmm, should only be at -1 right now, so not much of a difference?

I bid good morning to him nonetheless and then walk towards Jenna’s place.

Reaching the door, I see the raven-beastlady and her 3 men waiting patiently by the door. We walk over to them, to which they all give me the evil eye.

Waiting on the opposite side of the door, I quickly notice the undead duo waltz up to us, the she-zombie giving a rotten smile towards me…eugh.

Finally the large wolf-beastman with a silver line of fur down his back makes his way over to us…covered in blood.

I want to know what he did but at the same time…

When all of us are there the door opens, revealing a well-endowed lady in some hot leather pants. Man what a good sight for the morning.

“Are you coming in or what?”

Right right.

We all walk inside and gasp at the refurbished room: The whole place has been split in half; empty racks on one side and workbenches on the other.

11 of each in both sides, I see.

“Pick a workbench and get moving” She promptly pushes us towards the workbenches. I can tell she’s not the kind, endowed teacher here…

I sit down in the middle workbench, because I like being in the middle of things.

However this time, I put myself in the middle of a strange situation…

The she-zombie somehow steals the workbench to my right and wolfy, the one on my left

..
.
Baila? PinkyS?

I look at them and they look as shocked as I…PJ just giggles and takes a seat between the two girls.

PinkyS sits beside the skeleton, who sat beside she-zombie, and Baila took the end, as far away as possible from me.

Baila, do you not care that I’m surrounded by scary things?

Apparently not.

“OK, let’s get started”

She slams a wolf pelt of medium quality on Baila’s workbench. She then walks up the room giving us each a pelt.

“First, produce your skinning knife”

..
.
Baila and the Dwarf take out their skinning knives…

The rest of us? Well we kind of just look blankly at eachother and then at Jenna.

“Why did I even choose you?”

“Because I’m beautiful”

..
.
“Dumbass”

“Ehe” The she-zombie chuckles at me

*Twitch*

I swear one of Jenna’s eyes just twitched.

“I’ll let you borrow a knife for the moment”

*SLAM*

She embeds the knife in the table a few inches from me.

…I better not joke around here, or I might die.

Tugging the knife out of the wood, it took quite the effort. Damn she is strong.

In that time she’s given knives to everyone who needs it.

“Ok, let’s start again…Everyone take out your knives”

I raise my knife into the air

“One for all and all for one”

“Ehe” the she-zombie starts giggling again, please stop. It’s mildly disgusting since I can hear gurgling sounds from I don’t know what.

She looks towards my direction…but she shakes her head probably dismissing it as her imagination…phew.

“We’ll begin with creating leather. Everyone move to the racks with your pelts”

We all shuffle to our racks and I don’t get a chance to escape from the 2 strange beings next to me…damn.

“Tie each leg to a corner on the rack using the provided rope”

Head down or up? Wait that’s a stupid question, it’s not going to make a difference.

I start hanging it head towards the floor.

“Be careful when stretching the pelt because it may rip. So you need to slowly pull it to elasticate it as your tying it”

Ok, pull on it till it reaches, got it.

After a couple of minutes, we’ve all gotten our pelts on the rack. This was relatively simple, no one damaged the pelt.

Everyone else has their heads facing up…maybe I should try to change it to look a bit less out of place?

“Now take your knives and slowly scrape the fur off. Be careful to scrape with the grain”

“And that is…” I look towards Jenna

“STROKE YOUR PELT” Everyone jumps a little at the sudden outburst…ok, short fuse, got it, won’t ask questions, got it.

I stroke down the pelt and it’s very bristly.

“Is it soft?”

“Well if needle like fur is soft then yes”

*Twitch*

“IT'S THE WRONG WAY ROUND”

..
.
Ah…

Everyone chuckles and I stroke upwards.

Ooh, soft.

“Move your pelt round and then scrape with the grain” I can see she’s trying her best to not pulverize me with her voice

I look at the pelt and then at her and then at my pelt again…

Why would I waste my time doing that?

I start to scrape upwards laughing inwardly at my brilliance. That was until I reached the top of the pelt

..
.
*Spit Spit*

All that scraped fur had to go somewhere, and thanks to gravity; it went down…whoops.

“Ehe” Ah the gurgling giggle, eugh.

No matter, I’ll just look away as I scrape up. I can still do this!

Jenna sighs at the sight of me before going to look at someone else.

Many rainfalls of fur later, I’ve got a pretty furless piece of pelt, with a giant rip in the middle…

what?

“I SAID IT WOULD RIP IF YOU DIDN’T STRETCH IT ENOUGH” Luckily it’s not just me who’s getting shouted at because I spot both Wolfy and she-zombie have got tears and rips in their too. Haha, I’m not the only one.

“But you my dear, are doing juuust fine” She gives a small pat to Baila, definitely her favourite.

She cracks her knuckles at the rest of us and commands us to take our ruined pelts off before slapping another on our workbenches.

Ok, try number 2…

This time I slowly stretch and release the pelt for a good 10 minutes until it comfortably fits on the rack.

The head is facing the floor once again…whoops, I actually didn’t notice. Maybe I just prefer having its face close to me?

Nevermind should get to work; I’m a bit behind the others.

Scrape, scrape,

*Spit spit*

Damn fur is everywhere.

Finally after another 5 minutes, the pelt is furless.

Wohoo! There aren’t any rips.

But I can’t do a dance just yet…but I still do a short wiggle on my seat earning me another gurgling giggle and this timem Wolfy looks towards me for a second as well…

“DON’T BE DANCING”

ok ok! Oh god she saw it. Everyone chuckles as she shouts at me once more

“Ok” I look down in shame, if you really saw me dance you’d be saying don’t stop dancing.

I twiddle myhair for a couple of minutes until everyone finishes de-furring their pelts.

“OK, come back to the workbenches, leave your pelts there”

We all shuffle back to our workbenches

Like an instructor, which she is so no irony there(?), she walks up and down in front of us

“Tanning is done through 3 things; Salt, Oil and patience. Repeat after me: Salt, Oil and Patience”

“Salt, Oil and Slepatience” I almost messed it up there.

She-zombie gives me a rotten grin, she finished that word herself...

Luckily, Jenna did not hear it so we're safe.

She then takes a large barrel from the corner of the room and pops open the lid

She points at the white insides

..
.
“Salt?” I’m not quite sure whether we’re supposed to say it or not

“SALT” She shouts at us making everyone wince slightly

She then takes another barrel and opening it, reveals a dark liquid

“OIL” We all shout as she points towards it

She gives us the stop sign

..
.
“PATIENCE?”

She nods. Phew, she didn’t actually mean stop, gah that was confusing.

She then gets a pack of small bowls and fills them up with salt and oil. Placing a small, flat brush in the oil bowl they are determined as full.

“Now rub in the salt to the pelt to prepare it. Spread it but not too much and not too thin”

So how much then? If I ask that, I most definitely will regret it

“So how much then?”

*Twitch*

“UNTIL IT IS SPREAD”

Ok ok!

I quickly flee to my rack and begin rubbing small amounts of salt in the pelt. It’s better to start small.

After taking pinches and rubbing them in thoroughly, I feel like it’s done…

“Ok, now lather the oil into the pelt until it is done”

“How long unti-”

“UNTIL IT’S DONE”

Ok ok! At least let me finish my sentence…

She really doesn’t like me for some reason…is this the -1 intimacy coming into effect? But it shouldn’t be this brutal…

“1 HOUR TILL IT DRIES” she shouts to everyone, not to me personally.

Ok so she’s definitely got some personal grudge…?

“So do we reapply I-”

“UNTIL IT’S DONE”

Ok ok!

Most of the people here are chuckling at me. Damn you guys, I’m asking the questions and you’re getting all the answers!

I start to lather the pelt until it’s a glossy brown. Damn that looks nice and shiny.

With that done…I’ve got nothing to do except reapply, at some point, no idea when

..
.
God dammit

“So when do I r-”

“BEFORE ITS DRY”

Ok ok! Aaah, why does she have such a powerful voice?

At least I know what to do know. God forbid I have another question. I’ve cringed so much already; my back’s started to hurt a bit.

So I keep my pelt on full watch, because if I mess up, I think I’ll be a very unhappy person...

“So…you going to ask another stupid question?” The she-zombie comes over and whispers slightly rotten breath into my ear

*Twitch*

“They were extremely practical questions thank you, and don’t be acting like you weren’t benefiting from my duress”

“Hehe, true. Please keep asking stupid questions”

“Why are they stupid?” I’m actually curious why she thinks they’re stupid, they’re normal questions right?

“Because everyone here actually looked up how to skin, probably”

..
.
Ohhhhh! Well no wonder everyone was doing fine, except for a couple of mistakes here and there…And that’s why I was the only one who has their pelts the wrong way round.

“But then why did you say you benefited from my questions?” Rotten breath apart, I’m actually quite interested in continuing the conversation

“Because, I didn’t read up on it”

“So you just used me as an information pile, you’re evil you know”

“Well I am undead” She gives her rotten grin…she’s got a point there

“They say beauty is undying, but I didn’t know princess’ smelled so”

“Hey I don’t smell” She looks aghast

“Yes you’re right; you stink” I give a grin to know I’m not insulting her

"That's mean" I think she missed my grin...whoops! “What happened to the prince I saw that day?”

What? Oh that

“He’s hiding right now, because there’s a large loud woman out on the look for him” I give a large grin as I say it,

“Oh, so he’s that type of guy”

..
.
Huh…how…what? I’m confused…how is she missing these. I’m literally putting a signpost on my face so that it’s a joke!

“No, no, it’s just that this large woman is angry with him because he’s not good at his job”

“What do princes work as?” Wow…that was a heartfelt question…I want to just cry for her…how is she missing these?

“He does this and that” I’ll just roll with it

“So he’s unemployed” She doesn’t look impressed…

“No, he’s getting paid, just very little. A prince is a hard occupation you know”

“I see, so why is he playing this game…”

..
.
Did I…Give me a second…phew, phew. Don’t laugh…Don’t want to hurt her feelings. She asked very kindly…Calm down Joat, don’t laugh.

“H-he’s playing this game, because…because it’s his new job” Wait, that’s a horrible excuse

“I see” She bought it… “So, what does he do in this job?” …She’s genuinely interested. I’m so confused right now

“That’s confidential” Right, adding on a secret job twist isn’t going to make things any worse…

“Oh, then we shouldn’t speak anymore about that” …She bought it…is she naïve or just a very straightforward person?

“So who is this dead princess’ name?” who knows, maybe she used her real name

“I don’t feel like telling you just yet”…you’re kidding me; she actually used her real name?

*Twitch*

I think I’ve just talked to a very interesting person indeed. Is she actually one of those?

..
.
Nah, that isn’t possible, those things don’t exist anymore…but I do notice the skeleton silently sharpening his bony fingers...

..
.
I should be verrry careful when talking to Miss Nameless from now on…just in case i'm right...

Ah, lathering!

“I have to take care of my leather now, so more talk later ok?”

“Sure, but what is your name, since it’s proper for the male to say his name first”

Male? Proper? Please stop using such sophisticated words…

“Joat, a pleasure to make your acquaintance”

“It is a pleasure indeed. So will you tell me the name of that prince?”

*Twitch*

..
.
I see the skeleton behind her almost drop the knife…I think he doesn’t quite believe it either

…I don’t know what to say to her

“I believe it would be better for him to tell you that himself” I’m confused as to how she thinks her prince and me are different. I mean we literally are the same people, in body and mind.

“Oh, ok then!” She buys it completely…I don’t know whether to be amazed or confused…

I turn back to my pelt and lather it once more with oil, refreshing that glossy brown tint. Once that’s done I turn back to her, and see she’s busy watching her skeleton bodyguard(?)/friend lather his pelt.

“Princess, just a question” I lean over slightly, keeping a respectful distance, in case of
overzealous skeleton bodyguards, and whisper to her. Janna is busy giving praise to Baila right now so we’re good.

“A question? Sure, if it within my powers to answer, I will try my best”

Guess a simple ‘sure’ couldn’t cut it?

“How did you recognize me being different from he?”

The skeleton stops sharpening his fingers for a second, before supposedly resigning to the continuation of this strange façade, and continuing to sharpen his fingers.

“Simple” She leans in closer. Please don’t; it’s dangerous because of your toxicity and because of the gleam that’s coming off those incredibly sharp fingers “you have a small scar on the upper right hip. The prince didn’t have that”

Ah. So she noticed huh. Guess kneeling and leaning forward does move the shirt slightly so she’d be able to see it.

Though I cannot miss the irony of her being able to spot such an old scar and yet be so blind to my jokes and wit...

“You have very sharp eyes there”

“Thank you, though most men would say I have beautiful eyes”

..
.
I glance at her dead white eyes…Eugh. I fail to see this supposed beauty…but I guess her IRL must be beautiful?

I don’t think I should pursue the thought, because Sharpy (I’m calling him that, it’s perfect for him and I don’t want to try initiate conversation with him…ever), is checking out his supremely sharp fingers.

“I see, well we should be careful with our pelts. Don’t want them to be ruined”

“Oh yes yes”

We go back to our own pelts. Phew I survived this little encounter too…Jeez I didn’t know talking to a woman could be so dangerous

..
.
Well actually…when I think about it…Baila is way more dangerous…since she actually doesn’t give me any warnings, just comes at me…

I really should stop joking around with dangerous women.

Ok, back to tanning my leather





Another 30 or so minutes pass with some lathering here and there as well as the odd berating of Jenna. She really doesn’t like me.

I only asked 2 more questions within this time:

What are we looking for the leather to do?

And

Am I doing it right?

I think the last question was stupid but when I peeked at Baila’s down the line, I noticed that her leather had a much glossier shine.

I might have just been a little jealous that my leather isn’t as great as hers…

But either way, I got two lovely shouts from her. My back!

She does tell me that I have to lather sideways as well as up and down to cover it better. So it was worth it? Also the leather has to be soft for it to be done.

Sadly that wasn’t the only situation in the past 30 minutes.

Damn it, he’s looking again.

I wondered when he was going to do it again.

A short while after I finished talking with Miss Nameless over here, Wolfy over to my left started up.

For the past while he’s been giving glances towards me before shaking his head.

I’m seriously curious as to what he’s thinking about but at the same time, I have the feeling that I really shouldn’t ask.

Aargh, I can’t take it anymore.

I turn towards him

“Girl” He says this one word with so much confidence in his gruff voice

..
.
What?

“Just…what do you mean there buddy?”

“Definitely girl” He’s extremely confident about that fact, why?

“Who is?”

“You”

..
.
Um, excuse me?

I quickly glance down at myself…no bust, and I believe I still have ‘that’ so…what?

“I’m…a guy”

“No”

Well this has never happened to me before, and I’ve experienced a lot of things in my life. I’ve never been told that I’m a woman before…wait, actually I have…but that was me crossdressing for a Halloween party…

ANYWAYS.

“I think you are wrong there…just a feeling you know”

“No…I am correct”

Just where is he getting this BASELESS confidence from?

I wonder if I should just pull my pants down and end the confusion for both him and myself…

Though I don’t know what Sharpy will do to me, I have a feeling Miss Nameless is a lot more pure than she looks.

Dammit, why am I surrounded by strange people?

“Look here Wolfy”

“Thrash”

“Thrash” What a…interesting name. although it sounds extremely dangerous when he growls it “why do you think I’m a girl?”

“I don’t think, I know”

“So how then do you know I’m a girl?”

“you smell”

..
.
O….k?

I lower my head and sniff myself, nope I don’t smell dodgy or perfumy at all (but I do smell a little like stale blood).

“You see, no man would smell himself like that”

..
.
What? Well thinking about that sentence, he’s actually not wrong…

Unlike most men, I don’t do the whole raise up arm and take a big whiff of the armpits. No idea why guys do that, hell even some do it as a sort of pre-pick up line…

I just lower my head and stealthily sniff, normal right? Apparently only women do that (well I can’t imagine a woman doing the whole raise the pits in public, that’d be quite a brow raising sight. I mean its bad enough the guys do it, don’t need the women joining in too).

So I’m being called a woman based on the fact that I don’t raise the pits in public…Well this certainly has never happened to me before.

“Ok Thrash, what is that person over there?” I point towards Baila

“Girl”

“And her?” Towards PinkyS

“Girl”

“And her?” Towards PJ

“Child”
...
..
.
Wait a second; are children gender neutral or something to you?

“Um…why the child, is that special or something?”

“No, it’s just that children don’t interest me” glad(?) we cleared up you’re not a pedophile(?)

Though he will surely feel like pigs have learnt to fly if he ever learns the truth about PJ and PinkyS…

“Interesting…so what am I?”

“Girl”

..
.
Why? Didn’t we already have this discussion?

Can you not see their voluptuous bodies?? I don’t even have a chest. How am I a girl?

“I’m not a girl”

“True”

THEN WHY HAVE YOU BEEN SAYING I WAS A GIRL?!

“Your character is male, but you are a girl”

..
.
Right, I may have to call my mother later to ask why she lied to me all these years. Also I should go see my doctor about the thing hanging between my legs, a woman shouldn’t have that…

However, I do actually understand Thrash a little bit now: He apparently got the idea that I was a girl IRL because I smell myself in a non complete macho kind of way(?)…

It sounds just as crazy no matter how many times I think about it.

I stop talking to Thrash, because talking to him would just entice his decently deranged thoughts about me to grow.

Guess that didn’t work. Actually I think I made it worse. Dammit why is my face red?!

He’s probably taking this as me blushing or something, dammit! I’m just embarrassed that a freaking wolf-beastman is calling me a girl and is hellbent on proving to me that I’m a girl.

I’ve never had such a hard time with my gender since High school…

Hmm, what can I do to stop this Thrash thinking I’m a girl? I twiddle a bit of hair as I always do when I’m in deep thought.

“Girl” he whispers to the air as he’s lathering his pelt

Dammit, I’ve got to stop doing habitual things…because apparently they all liken me to a girl…Ah, that makes a bit more sense.

But I don’t see why, I mean if you look at the way I speak…ok, yeah a girl could act that. It’s not as baseless as I thought

..
.
Does Baila think I’m a girl, along with PinkyS and PJ? Is that why they were hanging out with me?

…no, I know that both Baila and PinkyS know I’m a guy…because of some of the things they’ve done/taunted me with.

PJ, I don’t know, but I hope she sees my masculinity pouring out…hopefully.

Anyways, I can’t think of anything to make Thrash change his way of looking at me…because he’s got a particularly lusty glint in his eyes…

*Shiver*

I think the first piece of armor I’m making is some tough leather pants…



...

After another 30 minutes the leather is done.

“REMOVE YOUR LEATHER FROM THE RACK”

I slowly unbind it from the corners of the rack and then take the floppy leather to the workbench.

I look up at Jenna who is walking back and forth infront of us

“Now I shall teach you to make a full set of leather armor. But we must be quick because it will harden”

“How long un-”

“UNTIL IT DOES”

Ok ok! I’ll wait until it does!

“We will start with some leather pants; now choose a person next to you to be your partner”

..
.
I turn to Miss Nameless…because it’s either death or having a possible feel up session with a lusty wolf-beastman who believes to his core that I’m a girl…

I think choosing Miss Nameless caused Thrash to smile a bit…

Does he think that I don’t want to partner with him because he knows my true self?

Sorry to burst your mildly insane bubble, I just don’t want to partner with you, full stop. Also I’m a man.

“Princess, I’ve got good hands, would you like me to use them on your pants”

“Really? Please do Joat”

Oh god, how did she miss that…oh god, I feel a little dirty saying that to such a pure person…

Also I spot Sharpy slice 3 fingers across his throat…3? Is he going to kill me 3 times over?!

I just smile…and cry on the inside, because I’m going to be killed 3 times over after this session…

At least I escaped Thrash...

“Do you not have a partner?” Jenna stops by us and looks at Thrash, who is alone…oh right there were 11 people.

“I don’t, since we have an odd number, but I will do it alone”

“No need, how about you partner up with those two” She points to us

..
.
"Gratefully" he flashes a wolfish grin


I really put myself in the middle of it…

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