By evening, we had reached another small village, and checked into the local tavern where they had rooms for travelers in the back. We were lucky, most of the time, there were no rooms. We just had to make camp outside of the village or town. There is no such thing as an inn in every village and town. Those realities are just in stories for the young.
We ate at the tavern. A storm began to blow from the outside, but judging from the look of the sky, it would not rain till the early dawn.
Just as we were about to begin, Adrian nudged at me and pointed to the other end of the room. I turned to look.
"So, she has made it this far by herself." I said, "I wonder where she is planning to go."
"To the city, where else?" he said, taking a bite out of his lamp chop.
"How do you know?"
"I was once a village boy myself. A farm boy. All of us country peasant children think about big cities and being heroes. And I noticed that you city children like to imagine yourselves hunting in the wilds and playing elves." he said with a twist of a grin creeping even as he ate.
"Usually we tend to do better. At least we know what not to put in our mouths."
I glared at him. You know, he never stopped laughing about how I came to Fort Light with a bad poisoning for eating those wild jungle berry things? I was hungry and I didn't know.
"What is she doing?" he asked, squinting his eyes in that girl's direction.
She was up on her feet. A man was standing over her.
"You have no money?" asked the man angrily.
"Your food tastes terrible! Why should I pay?" she was fearless.
More argument, he grabbed her arm. Some of the men in the tavern began to make crude suggestions with what to do with her. In these villages, people who don't pay become serfs.
"Enough!" I slammed my fist on the table. "How much does she owe you?"
"I don't need anyone to..." she began.
"Shut up! You shut up and you come over here." I said. She rushed over to our table immediately. Adrian positioned himself in front of her.
"We will pay for what she owes." he said, then threw a silver coin onto the table.
The man stared at the money. Probably because he never saw so much before. He swallowed as he picked it up and weighed it in his hand before pocketing it quickly.
"That will do?"
"Yes, yes, my Lord." he said.
"Please, we are mere travelers." said Adrian.
Stupid fool! I thought. Didn't he have smaller change? Goddamn showoff.
"Sit down!" I whispered harshly to her.
She sat with a thump. Her sword slipped off her belt and dropped onto the floor with a loud clang. The room fell immediately silent again. Adrian made a sign of peace, and the room returned to usual chatting noisiness
I looked annoyingly at her. She pouted.
"You will stay with me tonight, tomorrow, we are bring you home."
Adrian sighed, but conceded.
"What is your name, child?"
"I am Wi.. Wenda."
Adrian glanced up at me and smiled.
"Fine, Wenda. Let's retire. Tomorrow, a day journey to take you home." I said.
The night went by uneventfully. I slept soundly on the floor on a mat while Wenda slept on the bed. The next morning, I awoke and found one of my swords missing. Didn't take long for me to guess who took it, since my room mate was coincidently missing as well!
"Stop your howling." said Adrian, "She can't have gone too far."
True enough, it wasn't too hard to track her at all. People saw a girl in a foolish looking costume holding a shiny blue sheen blade making her way down the south dirt road. The blade she took was my lightning blade. Thank goodness she didn't take the other, which was a slayer's blade, a life stealer.
Adrian said nothing more. He knew what the Lightning Blade meant to me. I would kill to get it back. Oh! I could strangle that stupid girl!
We followed her tracks. The lands around us were hilly and surely tiring for any young and inexperienced hiker.
Her tracks left the road. Way down a darker denser part of the forest around us. We followed the broken twigs and branches, she left a noisy trail indeed.
Finally, we came to a cave with laughing noises.
Adrian went off to aside while I approached the entrance with care. There was a group of three men inside, and beyond two struggling shadows, figures of two who had been tied up perhaps...
I signaled to Adrian asking him to stay low behind the fallen log where he was standing. He ducked down and began weaving a spell. I peeked into the cave again and then backed out.
Then I picked up a dry fallen branch on the ground and snapped it.
The nest of rogues was stirred.
"I'll check it out." Said one of them.
"Yeah, we are having such luck. Master Dunn's daughter and a new shiny blade for me."
Mine!!! I snarled internally.