~ Chapter 93: The Godlike Blacksmith (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
The Black Company merchant was dead, the adventurers who acted as his guards were killed too. The three mercenaries who could have otherwise posed a threat to us were sent running with their tails between their legs. With the carriages themselves turned to nothing but a hot smoldering pile of nothing, we were left on our own.
“Well, this quest is definitely marked as failed!” I declared with a smile.
“Why are you proud of it?” asked Kalderan with a raised eyebrow.
“Erm... Because we managed to save Tamara! That's a plus, right?” I replied.
“And you avenged Sofia.” he showed me a small smile.
“Yes, that too.” I nodded.
“What should we do now?” he asked as he looked back at the burning carriages.
“Well, how about we continue our journey? We still have three horses, I didn't chase away all of them.” I shrugged.
“Good thing my supplies are in your inventory skill.” Kalderan nodded.
“True.” I nodded.
“What about me?” Risha asked with a timid voice.
I looked back at her and noticed how frail she look. Uncertain, worried, weak, this woman understood that she was at our mercy. She could be killed here by us and if she were to be sent off on her own, chances were she wouldn't survive the journey back to Soldra Town. She failed her escort quest, she was the only survivor of her party of four, and she was average both in looks and strength.
It wasn't hard to imagine what her future would hold, that was why I felt a bit guilty about it. I couldn't use my Luck to make her future all better either. It didn't work that way. Luck didn't offer me a sure shot at everything. Even in my previous wishes against the Black Company, it was still a matter of whether it was possible or not. If, for example, they stopped all activity for one week or more on their own, then most of my wishes would have been for nothing. If they had been extra careful with what evidence they left lying around, then even being apprehended by the authorities would have been hard. If their reach could even touch the King's will, then they could have him declare the Black Company as innocent, making all of my wishes useless.
Besides, there was also the will of the gods at play here, which, for now I didn't really had that much of an idea of how it worked out. What I used my Luck for and how my wishes worked wasn't by going against fate but rather by giving it an extra reason to be on my side rather than that of my enemy.
The most important reason behind why I didn't want to use Luck wishes for Risha, however, was simply because I didn't want to, that was why, I was going to offer her an alternative.
“You can go back to Soldra if you want, continue until the next village, or you could also join us. However, a fair bit of warning, if you choose the latter, you might end up giving up on your normal life.” I told her in a strict and stern tone of voice.
Risha blinked surprised and then looked down at the ground. Her hands were clenched into fists, and she appeared to be trembling a bit. Maybe it was because of her rage at my words. I must have sounded really heartless and uncaring of her conditions, but this wasn't that far off from the truth either. I cared about Kalderan because he was my friend, but Risha, she was just an adventurer acquaintance at best.
I walked past her and went to check the status of the horses. They weren't restless or acting up at all despite all the chaos that happened recently. They were trained to keep their calm around powerful adventurers and unreasonable circumstances such as monsters attacking and people dying. Considering the fact that they belonged to the Black Company, it wasn't surprising at all.
“These are good horses.” Kalderan pointed out as he approached one of them.
“So far, we traveled by walking next to the black carriages or on the back of these horses they provided. Considering our stats, we could just run to the next village.” I said.
“But what about them?” Kalderan asked as he pointed at Tamara, who was looking around without saying anything, and Risha, who was still looking down, frustrated by her own situation.
“Yeah, the horses are mostly for them.” I said.
“Do you want me to carry Tamara?” he asked.
“What are you planning?” I narrowed my eyes at him.
“She's a cat, isn't it obvious that I want to pet her?” he showed me a smug smile.
“I understand your feelings, my friend.” I nodded in approval.
“I hold priority!” I declared.
“Fluffies are to be shared!” he pointed at me.
“Kuh! I didn't know the Russian people love the fluffies as well.” I said as I pulled back.
“What? You think we never heard of things like anime and manga or don't own pets ourselves?” he raised an eyebrow.
“Do bears count?” I asked.
“What sort of monsters do you think the Russian people are?!” he retorted.
I narrowed my eyes at him, and we entered in a starring contest. After a long moment had passed, we both burst out into a loud laughter.
When we calmed down, I said “Sigh... I needed that.”
“Yeah, it was a bit too tense. Let's get a move on before it gets dark and we're forced to stay outside.” Kalderan said with a soft smile as he mounted his horse.
“Tamara, come here.” I said.
“Nyu?” she turned her head towards us and twitched her ears.
When she understood that I called her over, she approached me and looked up at me with big eyes.
“Let's get you on the horse.” I said as I patted her head and then helped her sit in front of Kalderan.
“What happened to priorities?” he raised an eyebrow at me.
“You are a range fighter. You won't need to dismount, but I will need to get off every time.” I showed him a wry smile.
After Tamara was secured, I looked back at Risha. She didn't move from her spot and kept looking at the ground with her fists clenched tight. I let out a sigh and then mounted my horse.
One last time... I thought and then called out to the her “Risha, what are you going to do?”
The woman raised her head up and looked back at me. Her gaze shifted between me and Kalderan and when I thought she would say something, she only opened her mouth and then closed it again.
Is this your choice? I wondered and then pulled the reins of the horse.
“Don't be an idiot like those three.” Kalderan said coldly.
“I'm not an idiot!” she shouted back at him.
“Good, so you can talk.” he looked at her with scolding eyes and then said “He asked you a question. What's your answer?”
“I...” she closed her mouth and bit her lip. “I... I will come with you.” she declared and looked at us with all the determination she could muster.
“Good. That's your horse.” I pointed at the last one.
She nodded and then went to pick up her backpack, which was lying next to the backpacks of her former adventurer friends. She cast one last look at them and then went to the horse. After making sure that her backpack was secured, she got up on the saddle.
“I'm ready.” she declared.
“Let's go then.” I said.
We arrived in Orhiga Village a bit later that afternoon. With the caravan destroyed, we had no need to stop and kill every single monster we came across. A single wave of pressure from my presence was all that was needed in order to make the monsters flee from us as fast as they could.
The Orhiga Village was located right in the middle of the plains. Most of the people here made their living from farming and animal husbandry. Very few villagers dared to try their luck by hunting on the outskirts of the nearby forest.
There weren't that many monsters around these parts either with the exception of some giant moles that kept ruining the crops and strange grasshoppers that tried to aim for the cattle. None of these were of a concern to us, but adventurers tended to take quests to hunt them down. The mole meat was similar to chicken and the grasshopper plates made excellent armor for both new and veteran adventurers.
As for how I knew all of this? Well, as soon as we entered the village, the guard posted there, rather than trying to see if we were criminals or not, he started to describe the local tourist attractions. We waited for half an hour until he finally stopped and let us pass.
There was only one inn in the entire Orhiga Village. When we got there, we were told that only one room was available as the rest had been taken by traveling merchants and adventurers. For better or worse, we took it. We only needed the room, I could always bring out an extra bed from my [Black Hole]. The meals at the inn were simple and filled our stomachs well, but they didn't have any fish, so I couldn't see how Tamara would react to it.
With everything that happened that day, it wasn't easy to strike up a conversation. I could move past these events faster than they could, but Kalderan just found his missing lover stuffed up for display, and Risha saw her own party members get killed before her very eyes while they were trying to commit murder.
It wasn't easy, but what I found rather odd was the way Tamara kept looking around. She was lacking the energy I would have thought a child like her would possess. She wasn't curious and obeyed whatever we asked of her to the letter. Despite her cute fluffiness, the relliar was too submissive. I didn't like it.
The following day, we woke up at the break of dawn after a long and good night rest. The fact that the day had 32 hours instead of 24 had already become something all of us got used to. My half-dragon body didn't find any problem with it either. I could sleep for the entirety of the night without a problem and be active for the whole day too.
Regarding this, I noticed that Kalderan had yet to properly adjust to this weird time. For him, staying awake almost 20 hours each day was difficult. Having to sleep for more than 12 wasn't to his liking either, but he was basically getting enough rest, so he didn't show to have any health problems as a result of that.
“Where to now?” Risha asked after we mounted our horses.
Pulling the reins and leading my mount on the road, I replied “Next stop is Leveder City. We're going to turn in the failed quest there and then see if we can pick up something else.” I replied.
“We?” Risha asked raising an eyebrow.
“Well, you are now a member of our party, aren't you?” I looked back at her with a raised eyebrow.
“If you'll see anything interesting there, let us know. By the way, you don't need to worry about the difficulty of the quest, I'm more than capable of defeating an Awakened Breakthrough Dragon.” I told her.
“A what?” she furrowed her brow.
“Erm... What's the human equivalent for someone who has a level over 1000?” I asked Kalderan.
“An Awakened, a Breakthrough-er, an Ascendant, mostly the first or the second.” he replied.
“Hm, I see. In the case of dragons, an Awakened is a dragon who reached maturity and quite literally Awakened their anthropomorphic characteristic and ability to shape-shift to full-beast form. If a dragon reached a Power Number of 1000 or more, they are then an Awakened Breakthrough-er or just Breakthrough-er.” I said as I rubbed my chin.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
That last POV practically summarised Seryanna's entire flashback, didn't it? But if I wrote it like that, you would have missed out on the fluffiness and an important piece in her character development. 😉 Among many other things. :))
Well, this is it! The new Volume of the 100 Luck series! This one will be entitled: Do Dragons go on Adventures?
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