Chapter 5. A Short Stop Near The Woods.
We’ve been traveling for a few hours on foot. Girls were having a great time enjoying themselves. I was glad Eve could relax around others. I turned back to ask if she was ok. Before I could say anything I overheard Rori say:
- Stan was so embarrassed when he saw me naked. He couldn’t move or speak.
Never mind that. I’ll let them be.
I turned to Stan.
- What made you decide to become an adventurer Stan? - I asked.
- Oh, me? My father was a farmer. But I have two older brothers and they took over the farm. I thought becoming an adventurer would be fun and I could make the name for myself. Then I summoned Rori and she agreed to... form a pact... with me. - he blushed and started to stutter. - She’s a real sweetheart... and... takes care of me.
- So I heard. - I mumbled to myself.
- What’s that? - Stan almost overheard me.
- I said, I’m glad for you. Hope you’ll do well. - I saved myself.
- Oh, thank you. - he scratched his head laughing.
Phew, close one.
- What about you Robert? - I turned to him.
- My father is a guard at the castle. I got my fair share of training when I was growing up. My father didn’t push me to become a guard, but at the same time wanted to make sure I can take care of myself. I decided adventuring and travelling would help me grow stronger before devoting myself to protect the city. My dream is to become a knight and serve the King. - Robert was open about his goal.
- That’s a fine goal indeed. - No wonder he looks so disciplined. He didn’t say anything about Angi, but I am sure he cares for her.
- What about you sir TC? - Stan asked me.
Sir TC? Really?
- Hmmm... - I thought for a moment. - I don’t remember my parents and was raised by someone I called my Teacher. However, I don’t know much about him. He took care of me and taught me how to fight. But then, unfortunately, he died. I was on my own since then. Found my way to Saramis just recently and now I am here. - I don’t think telling them I am not from ‘this part’ of the world would be a good idea.
- I see, - said Robert. - Looks like your Teacher was a great man.
- Yes, he was. - I agreed.
We were approaching a meadow with tall grass and a small forest next to it.
- How about we stop here to rest? - suggested Robert
- Good idea. - said Stan. - I am starving.
- Then I’ll go see if I can find any food in those woods. - I said.
- I’ll go get some wood and start a fire. - added Stan.
I took Eve with me. Stan went together with Rori. And Robert with Angi stayed to guard our temporary camp.
Woods offered shelter to lots of small animals and birds. Catching few rabbits or birds big enough would make us a nice meal. I also wanted Eve to improve her magic, and hunting might be a good practise.
We’ve walked a short while till the path opened into a beautiful meadow. Sun rays were falling through the trees and sparkling light was showering small flower beds on the ground.
- Wow, so pretty. - Eve was beyond excited.
It was clear she was thrilled being here. She’s a forest nymph after all.
- Look at this place. I am so happy you brought me here Master. - Eve thanked me.
She was running around picking flowers. Eve made a beautiful headpiece out of them. It made her look super cute. The time stopped for a moment and I forgot about the food we came here for. I was admiring Eve while she was enjoying herself.
She is absolutely gorgeous. Her childish behaviour adds to her charm. I wonder if she realizes how attractive she is right now. - I thought for a second. - Actually... I think she does.
I let Eve enjoy her playful time for a while, but we needed to catch our dinner.
This is a quiet enchanting place, maybe we will return here later, just the two of us.
Walking deeper into the woods we started to encounter small animals. Catching few rabbits or birds large enough would make us a nice meal. We moved forward quietly not to startle any animals. Very soon we noticed few rabbits munching on some grass.
- Eve, - I whispered. - I’d like you to use your magic to catch some rabbits. We’ll be fighting goblins and I think it would be good if you could improve your Thorns magic.
- Ok Master. - she answered without hesitation.
- Now try using your Thorns to catch a rabbit, but don’t kill it with spikes. If you can do that, it will help you trap enemies which we want to keep alive.
- I’ll try Master. - Eve said.
Eve pointed her hands towards one of the rabbits.
- Thorns... - her hands started glowing green while she tried to focus. Instantly thorns grew from the ground and caught the rabbit. - ... Mmm... Spikes! - And the rabbit got pierced from all directions.
I felt sorry for the rabbit. A gruesome death indeed...
- I’m sorry Master. That’s the only spell I know and I can’t cast Thorns on their own.- Eve was a bit sad.
- No problem. - I thought for a second. - How about you use spikes, but control how many come out?
- What do you mean? - Eve was puzzled.
- Instead of shooting spikes from all directions, you focus on only one. This way you can aim at the specific spot instead. - I wasn’t sure if it was possible, but it was worth a try.
- Ok, I think I can do that. - she said with confidence.
She aimed at another rabbit and her hands started glowing green again.
- Thorns! - rabbit got caught in thorns instantly. - Sss... Spike! - Eve shouted.
A single spike shot out from one of the thorns and pierced the rabbit through it’s head.
I felt sorry for this rabbit too. It was a gruesome death as well.
I never want to be reincarnated as a rabbit...
- Yey, I did it! - Eve jumped up with her hands up in the air. And that made her breasts bounce up and down.
I could watch her jumping all day long. What can I say, I’m a healthy man.
- Your face is all red Master. Are you feeling ok? - Eve gave me a worried look.
- Arrgh... it’s nothing. I... just felt... sorry for the rabbit. - Back to rabbits, back to rabbits...
- Aahh.. you’re so considerate. Even if we’re gonna eat them later, you are still thinking about those poor creatures. You have such a kind heart. - Eve hugged me, pressing her breasts at my chest.
The bliss of seeing and feeling...
- Well done. - I congratulated her. - Let’s catch few more and go back. While you’re at it, try to see how far you can reach with your spell.
Knowing her limits will help in actual battle. And knowing my limits, I should focus on rabbits even if she’s jumping.
- I’ll do my best. - Eve smiled.
We caught few more and went back to the camp.
Eve did well learning to control her spell like. I also noticed when she used a single spike it grew longer than when she used multiple. The hunt for food turned out more beneficial than I thought.
Back at the camp they already had fire started.
- Nice! You caught some rabbits. - Angi saw us coming. - I’ll take care of them.
She took them off of us and went to prepare the meat.
- You didn’t damage the meat at all. Nicely done. - she was impressed. - I’ll skin them quickly and we can enjoy some roasted rabbit.
- That’s all Eve. She’s the one who caught them. - I complimented her.
- Oh don’t say that Master. You’re the one who gave me pointers. - Eve was happy hearing the compliment.
- But how did you catch them? You don’t have a bow or any weapon with you. - asked Rori.
- I used my Thorns spell. And with my Master’s help I learned how to control it to catch rabbits. - explained Eve.
- Wow, amazing. - Rori was impressed.
I left them chatting and sat down next to Robert and Stan. Soon after Angi prepared the meat and put it to cook on the fire.
- Robert, - Stan addressed him, - how about a training duel while we wait for the meat?
- I’m not really up for it right now. How about you ask our new friend here? - Robert answered.
- How about a sparring match sir TC? - Stan turned to me.
- Sure, why not. - I was curious how strong he was.
We’ll go fight goblins, so it was good to know what he can do. I stood up, stretched a little and walked towards Stan.
- Yay, a duel! - Eve shouted excitedly. - My Master will win for sure!
- Stan! Show him what you’re made of! - Rori cheered for Stan.
Haha, our personal cheer leaders. Calling Eve cute is not a compliment any more, it’s an understatement.
Robert and Angi stayed by the fire observing us without saying a thing. Stan readied his shortsword and I took out my longsword.
He’s at disadvantage in weapon length. Let’s see how he overcomes that. His stance is good – slightly bent knees, feet apart ready to attack. Probably was training with Robert.
- Whenever you’re ready! - I taunted him with a smile.
He jumped at me thrusting his sword towards me:
- Yaaaaa! - ‘Swoosh!’
I lifted my sword, parried his attack, then quickly pushed him to my right. After a quick side step, I swung my sword and stopped right next to his neck. He was shocked in an instant. And not only him. I noticed Robert and Angi jump to their feet seeing that.
- Yey! Master TC is the best! - Eve cheered for me.
- Good try. - I removed my sword. - But you’re revealing your intentions right from the start. You wanna try that again?
- Please, sir TC. - Stan was still somewhat in shock.
Did I show off too much? That was just a simple swing. He’s the one who set the trap for himself. Oh well.
Stan was ready again. He stepped slowly to the side. Then jumped towards me lifting his sword up and...
- Haaaa! - followed the shout.
I lifted my sword up to defend myself.
Our swords clashed. I easily parried his attack and pushed him back.
- Not bad. - I smiled.
Without waiting, he jumped at me again, swinging his sword. I swiftly jumped to the side, evading his attack and swung my sword back, again stopping close to his neck.
- You need to think what your opponent will do after you attack. - I stepped back giving him advice. - You can’t expect to land your first strike every time.
- Thank you sir TC. - Stan bowed his head.
Honestly, he’s weaker than I expected. I hope those goblins are as weak as they said.
- Can we go another round sir TC? - Stan asked politely.
- Sure. - I readied my sword.
We went on for a few more minutes. He attacked me again, and again, and again. I parried or evaded all of his attacks. He was no match for me.
- I think we should stop now. - I suggested after another of his unsuccessful attacks. - You better save your strength for goblins. And I think the meat’s done too.
I could smell freshly roasted rabbit and was more eager to get to the meat, than continue with Stan. It was one sided anyway.
- Yay! Master TC is incredible! You’re the strongest. - Eve clapped excitedly, overjoyed with my performance.
- You’re really strong sir TC. - Stan was out of breath. - Thank you for taking the time to spar with me.
- Wow. You were completely beaten. - Rori approached Stan. Then patted him on the head with a smile. - But you did well. He was way too strong.
We went to the fire to enjoy freshly cooked meat. Eve wouldn’t let my arm go as we walked. She was really happy with my win.
- You are quite skilled with a sword TC. - commented Robert as soon as I sat down.
- Thank you. - I smiled and picked up a piece of cooked meat.
Ahhh... What a bliss. Freshly cooked meat on fire is the best reward after a fight.
- This is sooo good. - Eve beat me to it.
- It’s nothing. - Angi blushed a bit.
- I never had... mhm... anything so tasty... mhm... - Eve munched on the meat.
- That’s because you arrived only two days ago. - I teased her.
- Ohhh. That’s mean Master. - she puffed her cheeks.
- You’re still the cutest. - I complimented her.
- Ahhh. Thank you Master. - Eve’s anger melted right away and she smiled her usual cute smile.
- Where did you learn such swordsmanship TC? - asked Robert.
- I had a few teachers. And needing to survive on my own I had to learn how to defend myself. - I didn’t want to give him the long version.
- You were really awesome sir TC. I couldn’t do anything and you didn’t even break a sweat. - Stan was still thinking about the duel.
- That’s because you were thinking about Rori half the time. - I joked.
- Were you know? - Rori gave Stan a seductive look.
- No. I mean yes. I do think about you. But I was focused on the fight at that time. - Stan got embarrassed.
- Hahaha! - everyone laughed.
We enjoyed the food chatting and laughing. After our bellies were full, we packed our bags and headed towards the village.