A Difficult Situation
1 - A Difficult Situation
It’s a chilly day, the skies are cloudy with little sunlight shining through. Mashiro is on a job with her friend Namida. “If I knew it was going to be this cold I would have grabbed my coat” said Mashiro. “Well it’s nearing winter so you should have known it would be this cold” replied Namida in a joking fashion. While they were walking Mashiro suddenly stopped and pulled out a knife “look over there” she whispered quietly. Namida was confused, he had no idea what she was talking about “what, look at wh-” “SHH!” Mashiro interrupted Namida. Then he understood what was going on, he noticed the light rustling sound in the bushes. Once he realized what was going on Namida and Mashiro went back to back, the rustling got louder and louder, the sound coming from every direction.
Then suddenly it just stopped “what happened-” before Namida could finish his sentence five tree imps jumped from the bushes! Frantically Namida pulled out his axe and cut one in half. Mashiro, being more used to situations like this, takes out her knives and gets to work. “Haah!” she yelled, as the imp flew at her she dashed forward, sliding under the imp she cut its stomach open. Namida was impressed with her skill but noticed that she had left her guard open. Right before He threw his axe at the imp that was about to get Mashiro, the imp shot a magic bullet into Mashiro’s shoulder. Right after Namida threw his axe at the imp, splitting its head open. “eww you got guts all over me!” “There are only two more so lets finish this already,” said Mashiro. Quickly Namida ran at the two imps filled with confidence *maybe if I take out these two by myself Mashiro will like me!* he thought to himself.
To his surprise, when he got to the imps they retreated into the forest. Due to Namida’s dense self he didn’t think much of it but Mashiro was confused. *normally imps finish what they start so why did they run away?* “Let’s keep going, we are almost to Poppouria.” said Mashiro. Namida feeling a little down that he missed his chance to shine, just agreed in silence and they continued on their way. “you should really get that wound checked out” said Namida in a worrying tone. “It barely hurts, i’ll take care of it when we get to the village” replied Mashiro who didn’t give the injury much thought.
Mashiro had taken a job to kill some bandits that were threatening a small village named Poppouria. Neither of them had been there before so they wanted to stay a little after the job and look at the scenery. “did you buy that book on fire spells?” asked Mashiro “yeah I got it” replied Namida. Normally they tried to avoid using destruction style magic due to the damage it can cause to the surroundings. This was an exception because they were targeting a bandit camp so using fire magic would be the most reasonable and efficient way to take them all out in one sweep.
By the time they arrived at Poppouria it was sunny and warm. “Wow it feels like a whole different world out here!” said Namida in excitement. It was beautiful there, the red and gold tree leaves were rustling in the light breeze. The water was a pure blue where you could see the bottom of the deepest ponds. Despite it being a small village there were people everywhere, huge farms, and a very busy market. “Let’s rent a room at the inn for a few days” said Namida. This was his chance to sleep in the same room as Mashiro, just the thought of being that close to her made his mind start to wonder. “alright” said Mashiro.
Together they came to the Drunken Monkey, a bar and inn. “Room for three days” said Mashiro in a rude tone. “heh.. alright here you go, enjoy your stay.” said the inn owner. He felt like he had done something wrong even though this was the first time meeting her. “K” said Mashiro. Namida and her went upstairs to their room and set up their stuff. “You could have been a little nicer to the owner, he is letting us stay here free due to us helping the town” said Namida in a serious tone. “Why should I, I don’t know him and he doesn’t know me. No need to be all buddy buddy with someone you won’t see again.” said Mashiro. Namida realized that this would go nowhere so he just decided to leave it at that and continue unpacking his stuff.
While they waited for the sun to go down, they decided to go check out the market and pick up some food. Namida being brave decided they should check out the black market that was located in the western edge of town. So they grabbed some money and headed out together. What they didn’t know is that it wouldn’t just be an ordinary visit to the market. Together they walked down a muddy stone path and puddles. “This is gross” complained Mashiro “I know but this is the only way to the black market” replied Namida. “Well I hate it, why did we have to go to the black market anyways. Any other place would have been better than this.”
Mashiro continued to complain on the way there but by the time they got there she ran out of things to complain about. “You sure complain a lot..” said Namida with a slightly annoyed face and tone. When they got there they saw a lot of things that you couldn’t find in Concord or Rivera . Things like spell books, weapons, herbs, etc. As they were walking through the market a small old woman sitting on the ground pulled them aside. “Are you kids looking for some food?” the old woman said in a scratchy voice. Instantly Mashiro felt like this situation was off. How did she know we were looking for food? thought Mashiro, this doesn’t feel right.
Before Mashiro could say no, Namida told the woman they needed food because they were on a job that lasted a few days. The old woman invited them inside a little shack “well come on now, don’t be shy” said the old woman. “come on Mashiro, you said we needed food so why not grab some from her?” “Alright I guess..” said Mashiro in a concerned tone. Despite the old woman being nice and welcoming, Mashiro just couldn’t shake this nervous feeling of being around her. She felt like her guard was down and at any moment she could be attacked.
After all Mashiro had been betrayed by many people she trusted so why should she trust anyone else right? “What kind of food were you all looking for?” asked the old woman. Namida had been craving meat for a while since they had been eating more bread and herbs than meat. “Do you have anything meaty?” asked Namida. “Of course young fellow, would you like pig, cow, or boar?”. Namida’s favorite food is boar and just as Mashiro had thought, he went for the boar. “BOAR PLEASE!!” yelled Namida. The old woman laughed with a joyful smile on her face “hahaha alright i’ll get some out for you”.
While the old woman went to the back to cut up some boar meat, Mashiro decided to look around while Namida just sat down waiting patiently but excitedly for his food. As Mashiro was walking around the shack she noticed a photo of the old woman hanging on one of the support posts. To Mashiro’s surprise, the old woman was in Rivera when she had this photo taken. “Hey Namida come check this out.” said Mashiro. Due to him being hungry, he slowly got up and shuffled over to where she was. “Whoa wait a second, isn’t that the market in Rivera?!” said Namida in a surprised but confused tone. Once they saw that photo they noticed many photos of the old woman in Rivera. “Isn’t it weird that this old woman has been to Rivera this many times but we have never seen her?” questioned Mashiro.
Before Namida could reply, the old lady came back from cutting meat. “Here you go kiddos, that will be 4 pieces of gold.” Both of them thought that was a little expensive but they didn’t mind due to their decent amount of money. “Now before you kids go I’ll let you in on a little interesting information. There is a cave around Xandor. Inside the cave is a castle, filled with riches beyond your imagination.” Mashiro already knew where this was going but Namida was infatuated with the thought of being rich. Before the old woman could finish Namida interrupted “if you have a map we will gladly go check it out, thank you for letting us know.”
So the old woman gave them a map and the food and the two of them went on their way. “You should really be more open to different conditions. You are always so cautious about everything that’s new to you.” said Namida. Over the last few situations she realized he was right. I guess I have been overly cautious over nothing recently she thought to herself. “I guess I could be a little more at ease about new situations.” said Mashiro. “That’s the spirit, plus it makes you look a lot cuter” replied Namida. They both blushed, I can’t believe he just called me cute, does he like me? thought Mashiro. Out of embarrassment Namida said “haha.. let’s just head back to the inn and get ready to raid the camp tonight.
So together they ran back to the Drunken Monkey, got their armor on, grabbed their weapons, and threw their hoods on. They locked the door to their room and walked down the staircase. The stairs were old and made from wood so every time they took a step they heard a high pitched creak. “This is really annoying” noted Mashiro, but Namida just smiled and laughed nervously. When they got down stairs they saw a kid arguing with the inn owner. “Fine! I’ll just go into the forest and get some sap myself” said the kid. Before the owner could say anything back, the kid ran out into the forest.
“Hey are you guys going out into the forest?” asked the inn owner “Yeah we are heading there right now” replied Namida. “If you find him could you make sure he comes back with you, i’d hate to be blamed for a kid getting killed out there.” “I guess” replied Mashiro. Finally Mashiro and Namida head out into the forest. “Be ready to fight, I’m sure there will be lots of enemies since bandit camps are usually quite big” said Mashiro. Together they ran through the forest quietly with Namida having a hard time keeping up. As they were running they spotted a person standing in the woods. “Ready?” asked Mashiro, Namida nodded. When they got into position they counted down. one.. two.. THREE! They both jumped out with blade in hand.
As they jumped out they got a better look at the person who was standing there. It was the kid they saw earlier at the inn. They both stopped and stood there in confusion. “Hey kid, what are you just standing out here for! There are bandits around so you need to be more careful” said Namida. “Hold on” said Mashiro. She got a closer look at his face, He’s crying!? thought Mashiro. “What’s wrong?” asked Namida, but instead of speaking the kid just pointed in fear. “What’s over-” as Namida and Mashiro looked up they saw something horrible.
The entire bandit camp was burned into the ground. The entire area was filled with smoke. Bodies turned to stone with their terrified and sorrowful faces held in place. “W-What happened here…” said Namida in a worried tone. Mashiro started to look around. As she was looking around she saw a huge symbol marked into the ground from some sort of black crystal. Mashiro, who was quite educated in symbols for clans, cities, and bandit groups was confused. She had never seen this symbol before. “Hey Namida, come draw this symbol in your notebook.” said Mashiro.
Namida walked over, took his notebook out, and drew down the symbol that was marked into the ground. While they continued to walk around, Mashiro noticed that even though everyone had been killed and the camp was destroyed, they didn’t take any of the materials or money. This confused her, why would they kill everyone here and not take any of their loot she thought. Even the safe, which was open, hadn’t been touched. “This is going to be one difficult situation to describe to the town leader.” said Namida. “let’s at least take this kid back to the inn owner and get some rest. Tomorrow we can worry about what happened here.”
So Mashiro and Namida made their way back to the inn. After seeing something as horrible as this they became depressed. Walking through dirt and mud, they tried to talk to the kid but he didn’t say a single word. He just walked back silently without blinking a single time. Namida couldn’t help but feel bad for him. I mean seeing something like that must have been petrifying for a kid his age thought Namida. When they got back to the inn, the owner saw the looks on their faces. Looks of sadness, and sorrow. He let the kid have a room for the night. “What happened out there..” asked the inn owner, but both of them didn’t reply and just walked back up the creaky stairs, entered their room, and went to bed.
-Chapter 1 END-