Demon Queened - Chapter 5

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The rain kept up for another half hour. The townsfolk spent the entirety of that time trying to dissuade me from my course of action, shouting such things as “A young lady like you shouldn’t be putting herself on the line!” and “Let the real adventurer’s handle it!” Among them, however, was a surprising ally.

“If she says she can do it, she can do it,” Lissera told the crowd. She hardly looked convinced herself, continuously throwing glances my way, but she nevertheless managed to deliver the line in a firm voice before turning to me. “But are you sure you don’t want to wait until morning? They’re more active at night…”

“I’m sure. I’m intending to camp out tonight, in any case, so taking care of them before bed would be ideal.” That was another lie, of course. I intended to sleep in a comfortable bed, back in the tower. I couldn’t tell the townsfolk that, though, and it was unlikely they’d let me simply slip out of town if they thought I was planning to camp among monsters.

“I told you that you could bed at my place tonight, though,” Liserra pointed out. She had a pout on her lips, but I didn’t think she was actually that upset about my refusal. Rather, she seemed worried over my plans. 

“I’ll be fine,” I told her, my voice gentle but firm.

“Oh, just let her handle it,” declared a blue-haired woman, slamming her leather jack on the table. If there’d been any alcohol left in the thing, it probably would have sloshed over the sides from the force she put into it. “We’ve spent half an hour trying to convince the fool woman. What do we care if she takes this on herself? It’s not like there’ll be a body left for us to worry about burying.”

“Mother Reliz,” one of the villagers protested, “you surely can’t be suggesting we condone this madness!”

“I’m suggesting that we stay out of its way and mind our own damn business,” Reliz declared. “And that someone gets me a damned refill…”

Tasha hurried forward to take the woman’s leather mug, bringing it to the cask for a refill. I, for my part, did my best not to stare at this so-called “Mother Reliz.” She was the one who’d helped me shoot down Jackson earlier that evening, which had somewhat endeared me to her up to this point. Hearing her called “Mother,” however, told me that she was likely a priestess, an affiliate of the church that vilified my people. Just knowing that caused a surge of anger and disgust to well up within me, though I quickly shoved it down. The woman didn’t seem to be too terrible a person, so far; perhaps a little salty, but that was all. Nevertheless, I thought I’d be better off avoiding her.

“The rain seems to have stopped,” I declared, making a show of putting my hand to my ear. I’d actually been tracking the sound as it trailed off. “I’d best be going, now.”

“At least let me get you a lantern,” Liserra suggested, frantically. “She can borrow a lantern, right, Tasha?”

“I’ll be fine without it,” I told her before Tasha could respond. “It would just ruin my night vision anyway.”

“But you can’t even see the moon with those clouds! You need a lantern,” Lissera insisted. “Come on, Tasha, please? I’ll pay it off if she doesn’t come back with it.”

Tasha hesitated for a moment, looking conflicted. To her mind, giving in would probably mean saying goodbye to the lantern. Further, with the merchants avoiding the area, it was uncertain when she’d be able to replace it. Despite that, she slowly, somewhat reluctantly nodded.

“I’ve got an old spare I suppose I can let you borrow. It’s just a candle lantern, mind, but it should give you a little light.”

“It’ll do fine,” I promised, eager to get underway. 

The innkeeper gave me a resolute nod and headed toward the stairs at the back of the room. I stood silently while I waited, ignoring the quiet murmurs of the worried townsfolk around me and the worry evident on Lissera’s face. Even though she supported me, she was still clearly concerned about whether I could really back my claims.

“I do hope you know what you’re doing,” Monica muttered from her seat. “Lissera really doesn’t have the money to be replacing a lantern…”

“Monica!” Lissera cried out, blushing bright red. “It’ll be fine. I know you’ll bring it back in one piece.” So she said, but I could hear the faint tremor of uncertainty in her voice.

“It’ll be fine,” I insisted, giving her a confident smile. “I’m stronger than I look.”

“Are you?” Monica asked, voicing the doubt everyone at the table seemed to feel. “I’ve seen plenty of people whose strength outstrips their physique - I’ve heard some of the strongest humans barely show any muscle at all, in fact. But getting there takes hard work, and I got a good look at your hands earlier - I don’t think you even have a single callus.”

“That’s because I’ve always healed myself with magic,” I fibbed, meeting her eyes and refusing to break contact. I knew the phenomenon she was referring to concerning muscles. It was common among demons. Our strength was primarily supernatural, and the stronger you got, the harder it became to give your body an actual workout. It was interesting to know humans worked the same way in this world. “Believe me or don’t. All I can do is promise to return.”

Monica’s brown eyes searched mine. I’m not sure what she found, but after a moment, she shrugged her shoulders and looked away. A moment later, I heard the sound of heavy footsteps walking down the stairs, and Tasha arrived with a lantern. It was already lit.

“Thank you,” I said, smiling as I reached out for the lantern. 

For a moment, Tasha’s hand remained firmly on the lantern. “Be careful out there,” she told me, voice pitched low. “Getting this taken care of soon might be what’s best for the town, but the last thing we need is your corpse on our conscience.” Then she took her hand off and looked away.

“I really will be all right,” I promised, trying to reassure everyone once again. Nobody responded, this time, so I shrugged my shoulders and turned toward the door. I had already opened it when I heard Monica whispering behind me.

“You’re going to be paying off that lantern for months, you know.”

“Shut up,” was Lissera’s whispered reply. “She’s gorgeous, and I don’t want her to die.”

My cheeks flushed bright red, and I hastily opened the door and stepped through. The air outside was all but frigid, especially compared to the inn’s warmth, but, as when flying, I didn’t mind it in the slightest.

The night was pitch black beneath the clouded sky. That usually wouldn’t bother me, with my unnaturally good eyes, but the lantern light really was interfering with my night vision. Everything seemed to fade away to nothing less than twenty feet away. On top of that, poor Lissera would apparently have to spend months paying it off if it broke. It was plainly evident to me that I couldn’t bring it into the fight. I kept it with me while walking through town and then opened the lantern’s cloudy glass door and blew out the light. I placed it next to the outer wall, which surrounded the fields, for safekeeping and started to walk down the path and toward the forest proper. 

Of course, I also released the spell that made my hair look brown. While I’d made a big deal about my strength to the villagers, I really had no reason to restrict myself to physical fighting. There were twenty opponents, after all, and I was under no obligation to fight fair.

As far as finding the wolves went, I decided to simply stomp through the forest and make noise until they found me. The villagers had painted them as fairly aggressive, and I was hoping they would rush to defend their territory. If it didn’t work, I always had the option of searching for them with magic, but I was hoping to avoid that. Just as I had felt Lissera’s magic power, when she’d poured it over me, I was sure the wolves would know it if I used magic to scan for them. I wasn’t sure how well they’d be able to gauge my strength or how they’d react to it.

In the end, I didn’t need to worry, anyway. I was less than a quarter-mile from town when I heard the low growl of a predator, and a moment later, a single wolf emerged from the underbrush to my right. It looked more or less like a traditional wolf to me, sleek in form but well-muscled. Its coat was gray, glossy, and obviously well cared for.  The horn it was named for, which sat in the center of its forehead, was a sinister red, far too resemblant of blood for my tastes.

The wolf walked casually around me, keeping its eye trained on my form. When it reached the center of the road, in front of me, it let loose another loud growl.

More wolves emerged from the bushes in response to this call. The village had listed twenty, but the count seemed closer to thirty to my eyes. Like the leader, they were largely sleek and well-muscled. There was one on the smaller side, however, perhaps two thirds the size of the others. It seemed much thinner, and its fur was matted and dirty. I was curious about its circumstances, but once it took its place in the circle with the rest, I had to treat it as an enemy. Even emaciated as it was, it could still be a threat to me.

The lead wolf was the first to move. It lowered its head and charged at me, intending to skewer me with its horn. Its attack was well telegraphed, though, and I simply stepped aside. It didn’t stop, to my surprise, even after passing me, instead ramming its red horn directly into a tree.

The sharp instrument pierced through the wood like a needle through cloth,  showing off both the horn’s sharpness and the brute strength of the lupine monster. More concerning than that was the way the bark around that horn was darkening and crumbling away. When the wolf pulled away from the tree, a large chunk of the trunk dislodged with it, crumbling to ash and falling to the ground as the creature shook its head. Then it turned back to me and let out a low pitched bark.

The other wolves reacted as one to the sound, with each letting out a growl as they lowered their heads toward me. Then they started to close in, some wolves dropping back to make a second row as the circle narrowed bit by bit. I wasn’t sure if they could actually penetrate my skin with their horns like this, but I got the feeling that even getting poked by it would result in an unpleasant experience.

It was a good pack tactic. The wolves had me surrounded on all sides, meaning that I couldn’t simply run through them. They weren’t running forward, so there was no chance of them hitting one another. And if I devoted my attention to one of them, I’d leave myself full of openings for the rest. I had assumed that the horned wolves were only base animals, but it seemed they were intelligent enough to make plans. 

Not that it would save them.

“I’ll give you one chance,” I told the wolves, on the off chance that they could understand Solla’s common tongue. “If you bow your head to me and allow me to lead you somewhere less populated, I’ll let you live.” I considered letting loose a burst of magic energy with my words but chose not to. If the wolves scattered, I’d never be able to clear them all out. And if they decided to attack someone they saw as defenseless, that would tell me all I needed to know about them.

The wolf I’d pegged as the leader made an odd sound. It was like a growl, but with pauses built into it. I wasn’t sure, but I thought it might be laughing at me. All the while, the wolves continued to walk toward me, their horns growing closer and closer.

A sigh slipped from my lips, as a familiar tickling sensation slid across my back, and my black wings spread wide behind me. A single flap took me up and into the air before wolves could even react. They stared up at me in surprise, then glanced to their leader, who let out a small bark in response. It looked like he was about to personally lead an attempt to drag me down from the air. I was grateful that they hadn’t decided to flee, as it would save me some trouble, but not thankful enough to give them a second chance.

Holding a hand out toward the leader, I allowed energy to build up in my hand. For its form, I imagined crackling electricity, which tingled against my palm. After I’d built up a considerable amount of energy, I shot it out toward the leader, striking him in the chest. Instantly, his fur stood on end, and he stiffened in place, unable to move as lightning ran through him.

Of course, I didn’t stop it there. Instead of coursing down the pack leader’s feet and into the ground, the electricity jumped to the nearest wolf, burning its way through them even as I continued to pour electricity into the leader. From there, it went to the next wolf and the next, moving faster than they had a chance to react to it until every wolf there was frozen in place. When I cut off the stream of power, each of them slumped down to the forest floor.

All in all, it took less than a minute to end the wolf pack. The ease of it made me feel a little guilty; they were never a real threat to me, to begin with. But they had been a real threat to the villagers, the merchants, and anyone else they’d come across. Their aggressive territorialism meant that relocating them by force wasn’t an option, either. I’d done what I had to do. I knew that. 

It didn’t change the fact that I’d just killed nearly thirty living creatures, though.

Grimacing to myself, I landed on the ground and made my way to the lead wolf. As the first one I’d struck, it had been exposed to more of the current than the rest of the pack, and it was in pretty bad shape. I could smell charred meat and burnt fur. The horn on its head still gleamed red, though, same as ever, so I reached out and carefully snapped the thing at its base. I’d bring that back to the village, as proof. As for the formerly horned wolf itself - it wouldn’t really do to leave so many cooked wolves lying around, would it? I decided to put them all in my bag.

It was a little strange feeding them into it. The bag itself was no bigger than a fist, but the wolves still fit. It was like they were being shrunken down as they went in, their bodies narrowing to slide into the too-small hole and then disappearing into depths that shouldn’t have existed. I wasn’t entirely sure how it worked, though I assumed it was powered by some sort of holy magic. It had come from heaven, after all. 

Regardless, the process went smoothly, and I soon arrived at the final wolf. It was the one I’d singled out as emaciated at the start. Up close, it really was skin and bones. Weak and small, with matted and dirty fur. I couldn’t help but think that the other wolves must have been mistreating it, though I couldn’t say why. Perhaps because it was on the smaller side?

Nature truly could be cruel. Unfortunately, I, too, needed to harden my heart. No matter how weak and pitiful it looked, it was still a monster. And like all monsters, it could breed with the base species it had diverged from, in this case wolves. And since every pup it brought into the world would be a monster, just like it, it wasn’t something I could ignore or let go. I knew that. 

Which left me wondering why in the world I’d left it alive. I’d made a point of striking it with the electricity last, with a lower charge and for the smallest duration. I’d intended to knock it out while I decided what to do with it, but, apparently, I’d gone a little too easy on it, as its eyes were open and trained on my form. 

“...Your pack attacked me first, you know,” I pointed out. “I know I was here to get rid of you all, but if you hadn’t decided to attack me, then nothing would have happened.”

The wolf stared silently at me. When I stepped closer, it tried to stand, but its legs wouldn’t support it, and it quickly fell back down. That didn’t stop it from snarling, though, its lips pulling back to reveal sharp teeth. It was supposed to be intimidating, I think, but it really seemed more like a desperate last stand to me. I could see nothing but fear in its gaze.

I hesitated for a moment, then stepped closer to it. It growled again but didn’t even try to move away. I walked right up next to it, then knelt beside it and moved my hand slowly toward its side.

The horned wolf moved faster than I thought it was capable of, snapping at my hand. I didn’t pull away fast enough, and the teeth grabbed hold of my wrist. I could feel the teeth pressing against my flesh - but there was no pain, no blood. No wounds. It wasn’t even strong enough to break my skin.

“If you’re quite done?” I inquired of it, lifting an eyebrow. It continued trying to dig its teeth into my wrist for a moment. There seemed to be desperation in its eyes. I didn’t think it was going to stop. So I decided to test something I’d been wondering about and let some of my raw magic power spill out from my hand and across the creature’s body.

Its reaction was instant and dramatic. It let go of my hand and began to whimper, lowering itself to the ground and trying to make itself as small as possible. Perhaps because it was a monster, it seemed sensitive enough to my power level to know that it had no chance.

“Good. Now that we have that settled…” I reached out toward it, again, ignoring the fearful whimper it let out when my hand touched its side. I could feel its rib cage beneath my fingers, each bone standing out sharply beneath the skin, and I again felt a twinge of pity for the state of this poor thing.

“...I can’t believe I’m doing this,” I muttered, more to myself than the wolf. Slowly, heat began to gather in my hand, flowing into the creature. I’d never tried a spell like this before, and I wasn’t entirely sure how it would work, but I decided to focus on the idea of cells multiplying and repairing themselves. I provided the energy since the creature was far too weak to support this sort of spell, and as my magic pumped through the body, a mental image of the beast appeared in my head.

It didn’t seem that my spell had dealt much damage to it - or rather her, as I now realized. It was merely that the wolf hadn’t had much health, to begin with. She was weak from malnutrition to the point that I wasn’t sure how long she had left. Her calcium deficiency seemed especially bad, and her bones were starting to show it.

I focused first on undoing the damage my spell had caused, which didn’t take long at all. I provided nutrition by reaching into my empty bag and literally pulling the nutrients out of one of her packmates. A little macabre, perhaps, but it seemed the least it could do after letting this poor thing fall into such a state to begin with.

Once I had taken care of her immediate health problems, I focused on the wolf herself. The first thing I did was pull water from the air. The second thing I did was to absolutely soak the wolf, whose eyes widened in shock at the sudden dousing. I ignored that, however, using magic to pull the water out of the wolf’s fur and then wetting her again, and again, until the dirt in her coat had loosened its grip on her. I then used another spell to gently tease the filth from her body, forming a giant clod of dirt, twigs, and even a few leaves, next to her. Finally, I ran my fingers through the fur, undoing any knots I found.

The wolf was silent throughout all of this, not making a sound even during its repeated waterings. It looked confused to me, but it seemed to be slowly coming to the conclusion that I didn’t intend to hurt it again. I didn’t speak, either, content to simply work on its coat.

In the end, I spent an hour just prettying her up. When I was done, I gave her a little pat on the head and rose to my feet.

“You should be fine from here,” I informed her, a little smile on my lips. “I know I must be crazy, letting you go like this, but I do hope you’ll stop making issues for the townsfolk. It would be even better if you relocated, but I suppose that might be asking a bit much. I’ll be quite cross, though, if I end up having to come back and deal with you.”

The wolf didn’t respond but merely stared at me. After a moment, I shrugged my shoulders and turned back toward the town. It was only a quarter-mile back, and then I could collect my potatoes. I’d have to hurry back home after that; it was already quite late, and I was starting to feel tired. Very tired, in fact. Just walking was taking a surprising amount out of me. Which made me all the more annoyed when I had to stop and turn around.

“Why are you following me?” I asked, placing hands on my hips glaring at the wolf. “If you’re expecting me to feed you, or some such, I’m afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’ve got nothing on me but salt and shellfish, and I’m sure you know more about hunting than I ever will. You’re in good enough shape to hunt, now, aren’t you?”

The wolf didn’t respond but simply stood in the center of the road. Her tail was wagging happily as if she were simply a pup excited to be getting attention. The blood-red horn on her head, however, reminded me that I was dealing with a wild monster. My impromptu healing session might have earned me some goodwill, but there was no telling if or when it would turn on me. 

“I know you can’t understand me, but I certainly hope you know better than to waltz into town,” I sighed, turning away and starting again down the road. The wolf followed me for quite a while but stopped when we hit the edge of the forest. I half expected it to whimper when I kept walking, but it remained as silent as ever, just watching me go. I tried not to worry about the fact that it was now sitting in the center of the road. It would likely scatter once I was out of sight, in any case. 

I picked up the lantern by the wall on my way back, lighting it with a spark of magic. I also reached into my purse, preemptively pulling out the pack leader’s horn so that I wouldn’t have to explain where I’d been storing it. As a final touch, I used a spell to turn my hair brown. I was getting very fatigued by that point, and my feet felt heavy as lead. Still, I forced myself to continue walking down the path. I knew at this point that I wouldn’t be reaching the tower that night, but I still needed to return the lantern and maybe ask them to deduct a night at the inn from my reward.

When I reached the gate, I was surprised to see a figure waiting for me. My usually crystal clear vision had turned into something of a blurry mess in my exhaustion, but I recognized the purple hair.

“You came back,” Lissera said, her voice confirming my suspicions. “Did you find the… Wait - in your hand - you really got them!?”

“Yes,” I told her, forcing the word out. It was suddenly difficult to breathe. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me. “I… Inn…. Bed... Need...” I was gasping for breath, and my vision was starting to blur. It was all I could do to walk forward.

“Woah! You don’t look so good,” Lissera observed, moving forward and wrapping an arm around my waist. Without much choice, I leaned my shoulder against her.

“Need… Sleep…”

“Come on. My house is at the edge of town - much closer than the inn. Let’s get you tucked in.”

Alarm bells were ringing in my head at the suggestion. I knew it was a bad idea, though I couldn’t say why. But we were already walking forward before I had the chance to protest, and forcing words out was so difficult. I wasn’t even sure why it was a bad idea. A closer bed sounded like a beautiful thing to me. And then the door to her house was opening, and a moment later, I was stumbling into her room.

Her bed was stuffed with straw. It wasn’t very soft, and it poked a little when I collapsed against it. The pillow wasn’t much better. Despite that, I soon found myself closing my eyes.

There was something wrong with this, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was getting so hard to breathe. My vision was going dark. But I couldn’t fall asleep yet. I had to think. I had to figure out what was wrong.

But before I could, the darkness took me.

 

***

 

When I awoke, I couldn’t remember where I was. The bed beneath me was scratchier than anything I’d felt in either of my lifetimes, and the pillow was just as bad. The blanket over me was woolen, which made it warm but very scratchy. When I peered around me, I could see that I was in a small room with shuttered windows. I could see a little light through them, which told me it was morning but did nothing to tell me where I had ended up. The last thing I remembered was trudging back toward the village. I’d been intent on getting a room at the inn. Had I succeeded?

Suddenly the doorknob rattled. I reached quickly for my magic, intent on turning my hand brown, but then froze. My hair was already a dark brown, the usual white nowhere to be found. What exactly had happened to me?

The door opened, and I was surprised to see Lissera on the other side. Then I remembered. She’d met me at the town’s gate and led me inside. She’d taken me to her house, where I must have collapsed. Why had I collapsed? Had I really been that tired after only a single day’s work? It was true that I’d never put much of an effort in, in this life, but that still seemed a little much.

“You’re awake!” Lissera exclaimed, grinning in sharp contrast to my frowning face. “I was really worried for a little there… Our doctor called it the worst case of magic depletion she’d ever seen.”

“Magic depletion?” I asked, shocked. I’d never run out of magic in my life up to that point. But then, I’d never spent an entire day flinging nonstop spells. Between flying for more than three hundred miles, while maintaining spells pretty much the entire way, and then everything I’d done on the beach, plus my flight back, my illusion in town, and everything that had followed - perhaps it wasn’t surprising that I’d run out, after all. Actually, I was fairly impressed with myself for hanging in so long.

Still, Abigail hadn’t outright collapsed when she ran out of magic. Was it because I’d tried to hold on too long? Or was it because of the difference in our species? I wasn’t wholly mortal, so perhaps my body was more dependent on magical energies? Though the fact that a human could recognize it implied that it could happen to others, too.

“That’s right,” Lissera confirmed, oblivious to my deeper wonderings. “You were out for three days, too. I’ve never even heard of someone taking that long to recover their energy.”

Three days!?” I screamed, grabbing the blanket and pulling it off myself. I tried to stand, only to be hit by a rush of dizziness. My legs didn’t feel weak, precisely, but it was apparent they hadn’t been used for some time. And I was starving. How had I not realized that before? My stomach was crying out for food.

“Careful,” Lissera told me, coming forward to prop me up. I leaned against her shoulder, thankful for the help. “I don’t know how demon bodies work, but if you’re anything like a human, you’ll need to eat before we get you moving around.”

“A…” I stared at her, my mouth opening and closing like a fish. “You…?” I couldn’t get out the words.

“I saw the white hair, Eena,” Lissera informed me, with a small frown. “White hair. There’s only one being that looks human, except for her white hair. So far as I know, anyway. Your majesty.”

“I-I’m not…” I started to lie, then trailed off as Lissera arched an eyebrow. “..Why did you help me, then? If you know?”

“You saved my town,” Lissera reminded me, a small smile flitting across her face. “For potatoes. I don’t care who or what you are - I can’t think of you as evil after that.”

“And… My hair?” I asked, glancing down at my dark brown tresses.

“Walnut dye. My whole family works with clothing, so I know a bit about dyes. I didn’t know what to do when you collapsed, and I couldn’t let the doctor see your white hair, so…” She trailed off, shrugging her shoulders.

“Thank you,” I said, putting as much honest emotion into the words as I could. I couldn’t know for sure how vulnerable I’d been, but if there’d ever been a chance to kill me, it had been then. She would have been a hero to her people, and the demon queen line would have come to an end. Instead, she’d shown me kindness I’d never expected and wasn’t sure I deserved. 

“You saved my town,” Lissera reminded me, again. “I mean, you did save my town, right? You had that horn, and there haven’t been any attacks since you went out there.”

“I killed the wolves,” I assured her, smiling faintly. “All but one of them, anyway, and if she causes trouble, I’ll finish the job.” It was the least I could do to thank the woman who’d saved me.

“Alright then. I’m going to go get you some food - you wait here, okay?” Lissera guided me back to the bed, settling me down. I nodded, relieved to be off my feet.

“Just wait right there,” Lissera reiterated, heading toward the door. “Don’t go anywhere!”

I nodded, unsure why she was being so insistent. It was a little suspicious, but I was reasonably sure she didn’t mean me any harm after all that had happened. And it wasn’t like I really had the energy to go anywhere, anyway. So I waited, in the dark room with its single shuttered window, sitting still on the bed.

She came back about ten minutes later, with a wooden bowl in her hands. It was full of porridge, and the sight of it brought a small smile to my lips. When she handed it to me, I immediately began to dig in. It was bland, without even a hint of sugar, but I still ate every bite.

“So?” Lissera pressed after I finished. “Are you feeling better?”

“Very much so,” I confirmed, smiling and standing. My legs supported me much better this time, and I could feel energy flowing through my body. If a human slept for three days, I doubted they’d recover this quickly, but it seemed that I was made of sterner stuff.

“Good,” Lissera said. She looked relieved. “Alright. The villagers all gathered as many potatoes as they could for your reward, so I’ve got them in the main room for you. You should take them and get out of here. Quickly.”

“Is something the matter?” I asked, frowning once more. “Or do you simply want me out of the way now that you know what I am?”

“What? No,” Lissera refuted, shaking her head rapidly back and forth. “It’s not that. It’s just… There’s been a little bit of a complication?”

“A complication?” I parroted back, my frown deepening. “What sort of complication?”

“Well, remember how Monica and I were talking about Trevill? The one with the horse? Went to the city to get an adventurer?”

“Yes, I remember,” I told her. “Is he back?”

“He’s back,” Lissera confirmed. “And he brought an adventurer with him. And when we told her that a single adventurer had taken on all twenty wolves - well… She decided she wanted to meet you. And she’s been pestering me about when you’ll be up to seeing visitors, ever since.”

“I see. But I don’t see what…. Wait. She? So Travill also brought back a single adventurer?” I asked. A single adventurer, coming to slay twenty wolves? That was fine for me, but hadn’t Monica said something about this requiring an entire party?

“That’s right,” Lissera confirmed, nodding. “And I don’t think you want her pressing into your backstory…”

“And… If I could ask this adventurer’s name?” I asked, my mouth dry.

“Helllooooo?” called a voice from outside the bedroom. Lissera flinched instantly. “I knocked, and knocked, but nobody answered, so I just came inside! You’re here, right, Lissera? How’s your patient?”

A woman walked in, not waiting for a response. Just looking at her, you could tell she was an adventurer of some sort. She was wearing greeves that went up to her knees and a skirt made of leather straps with decorative gold studs. The armor that covered her upper body was somewhat form-fitting, hewing close to her stomach and sides. It didn’t show boobs or cleavage, but it still made clear she had curves. She was wearing bracers, and her left hand was encased in a gauntlet, while her right hand was free. There was a large sword buckled to her left side.

She had red hair and orange eyes, and she smiled brightly when she saw me.

“You’re awake! It’s so great to meet you. I can’t believe you really took out twenty wolves by yourself! You must be really strong. And I hear you’re self-trained? And not even an adventurer, yet! But you’re already taking on quests like twenty wolves, and you’re doing it for literal potatoes - which is really nice, by the way. I was just going to turn down the reward, but I know people need to eat, and taking the reward in a way the village can pay is just brilliant!” 

The woman paused, then laughed. “Sorry,” she told me, “I’m babbling and babbling, and I haven’t even told you my name.” She held her hand out toward me, a grin on her lips. 

“I’m Lucy. The heroine!”


Author's Note:Been a while since I updated here, huh? ^^: DQ has actually continued updating, so I'll be posting about a chapter a day until I'm caught up (to chapter 7). <3 See you tomorrow night.

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Comments

Now we meet Lucy!

NatalieRath's picture

Now we meet Lucy!

Things are looking better

Julia Miller's picture

If our queen can make friends with Lucy, this story could have a much better ending than the video game.