Chapter 28: Don’t fall into a love triangle, please! part
“Quickly! go heat up some soup for Anne, her condition is very bad”
I order Helena. My mind feels more agile, clear, it is as if all the distractions dissipated and allowed me to concentrate on the problem in front of me.
Helena hesitates for a second before letting go of the curtain and heading into the kitchen, I can hear the sound she makes as she reaches for the utensils she needs to heat up the stew for lunch.
What Anne needs is not only rest, she must also eat a proper meal. I’ve long thought of stamina simply as the amount of energy we can expend before getting tired, but since we’ve long since had enough food to go around, I completely forgot the importance of eating properly.
Surely Anne would recover anyway if she didn’t eat now, but eating will allow her to recover much faster. If my assumption is correct, the pieces of this puzzle are fitting little by little.
Health points represent just that, health. But it’s not as simple as thinking that just because you have a large number of health points you are invulnerable. Luke’s accident taught me a lot about it, while he was bleeding his health points decreased rapidly and, if he had reached zero, the obvious result would be his death. There are other conditions that also produce a gradual decrease in health points, such as poisoning, illness, cold, fatigue, and I imagine many more. But, what would happen if someone was decapitated, I can only assume that the result would be instant death regardless of how many health points they had before the event.
The latter is just a theory, I also imagine that the more health points a person has, the more difficult it is for that to happen.
The case of stamina is almost solved. To recover stamina its necessary to rest, but also to feed properly. Where else would the energy needed to move come from? surely you also need to drink water. In Anne’s case, she most likely drank water, but that wasn’t enough.
The only thing that seems out of place to me is that Anne has gotten so tired, regardless of Hiraku’s state, Anne’s condition is bad. Could it be that the cold has something to do with it? perhaps the cold made her spend more energy than usual, causing her hunger to worsen.
Cold consumes energy, therefore its necessary to take care of the diet, on the other hand, the heat makes us sweat, therefore it is necessary to take care of dehydration. If the theory is correct, on hot days you could also get the negative state of exhaustion by not drinking enough water.
My new skill is really useful, although actually more than a skill it seems like a change in my mind.
Sending Helena out to get some food gave me an excuse for the situation I’m in and also some time alone to focus on learning more about stamina. When she comes back I won’t have to say anything to her, I imagine she’ll have realized the situation by herself. On the one hand I’m happy to be able to take this weight off my shoulders, but I also feel a little guilty for manipulating her that way. I don’t really mean to create any trouble, sometimes I miss the time spent completely alone in the woods. Maybe if I had met Mochi earlier, I wouldn’t have come out of the clearing and none of this would have ever happened... well, there’s no point in thinking about it.
“It’s just the broth, is Anne’s condition serious?”
Helena says as she hands me a bowl of soup
“Fortunately it’s not serious, she just needs to eat and rest. From now on it’s important to remind everyone that they can’t leave the camp without emergency rations”
“Ehhh, Ryu, I’m sorry for my previous reaction”
Yes there is a problem! she spends two weeks trying to seduce me, and as soon as she thinks she’s lost the battle, she goes into full drama mode. I’ve made up my mind, I’ll choose not to approach either of them and I’ll make it very clear to them as soon as possible.
I gently shake Anne to wake her up.
“No Ryu, stop, they could see us here, no... please don’t touch me there, not there, mhmm”
“What are you dreaming you pervert!? wake up, you got to eat something!”
Anne suddenly opens her eyes, she’s still a little pale but her reaction was much more animated than I expected.
“uh? what am I doing here? I was... no, wait... what are you doing here Helena?”
“What are you saying? I live here!”
An intense stare fight unfolds in front of me.
“We had agreed that the loser would move to the other cottage, you have nothing to do here anymore. Ryu chose me, you can go now”
Her icy gaze collides with Helena’s fiery gaze. Before it escalates into a fight again I put the bowl of soup in between them.
“You must eat Anne, you’ll feel better immediately. Also, stop arguing over stupid things, will you? I’ve already made my decision, I won’t choose any of you and you must respect it or else I’ll just go and tell Anne and Hiraku to switch places with me”
“Do you not find either of us attractive enough for you?”
“No, it’s not that, I just don’t have the time or the energy for these games, there are bigger problems to worry about. Also, no matter whoever I choose, issues will arise in the group anyway, in the end someone will get hurt and that will only create conflict within the group”
“That’s not true!”
They both say in chorus
“Then can you promise that there will be no hard feelings? the one who has to move will not be jealous? If things go wrong with whoever I choose, will they still respect me as a leader? can you really promise it?”
“But you must understand us Ryu, our feelings...”
Before Helena finishes her sentence I interrupt her abruptly
“And what about my feelings? Did you ever stop to think about how I feel? Didn’t I tell you I have no memory? if you just want to hang out, I’m not going to refuse, but still you put your feelings on my shoulders as if it’s my duty to respond to them. I’m too concerned about the well-being of the group to add anything else to worry about”
“that was harsh” 𝑖𝓃𝓃r𝒆𝘢d.＆nbsp;c𝘰m
Helena says now that Ryu has left the room.
“yes, since when is he so cold?”
“I don’t know, but he’s right, I think we’ve been too selfish”
“Yes, I feel bad now... do you think we should apologize?”
“No, best thing would be to give him his space. By the way, are you feeling better now?”
Anne nods and takes another sip of hot soup. That night Ryu slept in front of the chimney, despite the warmth emitted by the fireplace it was the coldest night he had in a while since he had to sleep alone this time.
The following days the group continued with their efforts, Anne and Hiraku went hunting just like the day before and Helena stayed at home preparing the skins to make appropriate clothing for the cold.
Bob and Luke are in front of the woodpile choosing the best materials to make a sled.
“I’m telling you it can’t be that big! the pathways are too narrow in some places, even if it is small it will still be useful”
“But if it is very small its capacity will be limited, in that case what would it be used for?”
“in that case we can make it longer”
“Fine, but it should also be wider”
“I don’t understand your insistence”
Both have been arguing for more than half an hour about how the sled should be and they still can’t agree, anyway, they want do whatever they can to avoid taking the issue to Ryu. In Bob’s case its because he knows that Ryu is busy with Ayumi on an important task, while Luke does not want to admit that he’s not capable of solving problems on his own.
“It just has to be wider and that’s it”
“If you give me one reason why it should be as wide as you want, I’ll give you the reason”
With these words Luke shrugs as if giving up
“it’s just that, well, I don’t know how to say it”
“spit it out already!”
“I just want a sled that’s wide enough to ride on”
Luke’s facepalmed so hard it could be heard in the whole settlement, distracting Ryu by a split second before he turned back to face Ayumi who’s showing him her advances in studying the fire stone .
“So, Ryu as I was telling you, it’s not that the rock itself is dangerous. I think that if we heat it slowly instead of throwing it directly into the fire like a caveman we can get a little more information about its use”
“What makes you think that?”
“Fire is not something physical, its the fuel that releases its energy, do you understand?”
Ryu nods his head pointing out that it’s something obvious
“well, if you understand that, everything will be easier. When you burn wood some smoke is produced, its waste that could not be burned properly. When you burn coal, a gas is released that is dangerous to health. Fuels are not perfect, they have impurities and also form substances that can be burned at different temperatures. What was left when you burned the fire stone?”
“I don’t know, Ash maybe?”
“That’s my point, we don’t know. I’m not an expert in the matter, but as far as I know, there’s always a residue and, since we do not know what the residue was, we could at least learn that if we repeat the experiment in controlled conditions”
“okay, so if we burn a stone of fire and we see that there is only residue, what will we get from that?
“Ah little Ryu, the great Ayumi will help you understand. Firestone is a material that wasn’t available in my world, but at least we know it’s some sort of fuel. This means that in the worst case scenario we can take advantage of its heat. However, I think we could get even more out of it, I think it’s a magic stone”
The expression of disgust on Ryu’s face at being called small turned into one of astonishment when Ayumi mentioned magic. Just thinking of all the possible uses it could have filled his heart with hope.
“A magic stone! what makes you believe that?”
“It’s simple, since I’m a mage class I have a certain sensitivity to magic. Although I’m not entirely sure, it’s a strange feeling. when I get close to the fire stones I can feel an energy that feels similar to heat, but instead of temperature it is as if it emits a force that attracts me and propels me at the same time”
“I see, and have you felt that at some point? another moment?”
“Yes! near the silver flowers and Mochi”
“Near that gluttonous cat?”
“That’s how it is! don’t let that hairy potato form fool you, I think one day he will be quite powerful”
Both cannot contain their laughter after turning to see Mochi who is washing its lower parts carefully and when it finishes it has its tongue stuck out giving him ridiculous appearance.
“Yeah, you’re right, maybe my perception is not so accurate sometimes, but about the fire stone I’m completely sure”
“Well, what do you need for the experiment?”
“That’s the tricky part, I think we’ll need a lot of glassware and someone skilled to work it”
“that’s out of reach at the moment”
“I know, but it was necessary to share this with you anyway, we should ask the rest of the group to stay tuned in case they find more stones of this type”
Both continue to drink their herbal tea calmly while noises of knocking on wood begin to be heard.
“They finally started, do you think they can finish today?”
“I don’t know, making a sled that works is easy, making a good one will be complicated”
“we should go see how they are doing”
“Leave them Ryu, they need to believe that you trust them enough to give them a task and let them sort it themselves”
“but that’s not true”
“I know, but still... by the way, I see that you already solved the problem with the girls, what seems strange to me is that they both look happy. Did you already give them what they wanted?
Ryu blushes slightly before replying
“I don’t know what you’re talking about”
“You can’t hide anything from me Ryu, but whatever, as long as there are no fights I don’t care if you reject them both or if you make a threesome, although I must admit that I thought that you would choose Anne.”
“What are you saying crazy woman! stop meddling in other people’s personal lives”
While Ryu and Ayumi talk, somewhere in the forest a sneeze is heard
Hiraku says, crouching down to look at the footprints closely.
“what do you think it is?”
“I don’t know, Miss Anne, but it’s big and it’s close.”
“How can you tell?”
“Because it’s looking at us right now.”
They both draw their bows as they take aim at the strange creature in front of them, a low growl begins to be heard, but the creature doesn’t advance.
“Should we shoot Miss Anne?”
“I don’t know, it looks like it’s warning us, but it doesn’t seem to be a carnivore”
Its round shape and big eyes give it a cute appearance, contrasting with its menacing growl and apparently aggressive behavior. Because the creature is covered in snow they cannot clearly distinguish it, however it seems to have quite long fur making both hunters wonder if hunting it is worth risking their lives. However, they both decide to back away slowly keeping their weapons at the ready.
Seeing that they leave, the creature stops paying attention to them and continues on its way.
“I don’t know why but that animal gave me goosebumps”
“Yes, I think we made the best decision by retiring. If only we had seen it from farther away, perhaps we could have hunted it without risking it, but at that distance it was too dangerous”
“Not only that, I think it was too big to take back. We should go back, I think we have enough”
They both retrace their steps and recover two boars that were hanging from a tree. Thanks to the new rope that Helena gave them, they can keep their prey off the ground, safe from predators. Due to the inconvenience that Anne suffered the day before, this time they decided not to stray too far from the settlement and in just an hour they managed to return with both prey on their backs.
Bob and Luke are disappointed to see them arrive before they have finished the sled, they worked hard all day to finish it as soon as possible and even so their effort was useless. Instead, Hiraku seems excited to see his progress.
“I see that you made a lot of progress”
“yes, but it wasn’t enough”
Answers Bob dejectedly, but before the atmosphere gets heavy Hiraku stands next to him and pats his back repeatedly
“don’t say that young Bob, it looks incredible! ”
Although at the moment the sled is just a couple of loose parts and boards, Hiraku could clearly imagine the end result. Even Anne is surprised.
“It will be huge! why did they make it so long?
“It is not clear? In this world we are stronger, we can carry much more weight so pulling a bigger sled shouldn’t be a problem. Bob wanted a sled to ride, but I think it’s too soon for that”
Luke shrugs as he looks at Bob
“and how did you get him to drop his idea?”
“It was easy actually, I just told him that it doesn’t need to be as wide as him since he can stand on it”
“You also said you’d give me a ride!”
Just imagining Luke carrying Bob on his back made Hiraku’s back ache.
‘Bob is not small by any standards, Luke must have a lot of self-confidence to offer to carry him so easily’ Hiraku thought. Reality was different, however, Luke simply told Bob what he wanted to hear to start building the sled as soon as possible, but the more they progressed in the project, the more afraid he felt of having to really keep his word.
As soon as Ryu heard that Anne was back, he immediately left his cottage and ran to check on her. He put both hands on her face and reached out to check her complexion and the color of her skin. As well as her temperature, once he was satisfied he nodded.
“It’s good that you arrived safely, you both look good and even brought two boars this time”
“That’s right, young Ryu, although this time they are a little smaller than yesterday’s. The hard part is finding them, the killing part is so easy it feels like cheating and it’s all thanks to the bows you made for us!”
“Ryu! we found a mysterious creature!”
After taking refuge from the winter cold inside the cottage, Anne tells him in detail everything she remembers about the mysterious beast that appeared in front of them. After patiently listening to the story, Ryu congratulates Anne by patting her on the head.
Anne allows herself to be caressed docilely and genuinely enjoys the moment.
Helena who was inside can’t help but feel jealous, but at the same time she remembered what happened the day before and decided not to intervene. An idea that would bring many difficulties to Ryu began to take shape in her mind ‘what if we both agree not to interfere with each other’s advances? It may be a bit difficult, but I’m confident that I will win in the end’. Although Helena always shows her kindest side to everyone, and she does not consider herself a bad person, in her mind she’s clear that in war and in love all is fair.
Ryu, completely unaware of Helena’s thoughts, stands up excitedly.
“I think you’re ready to go hunting separately! Helena, please give them their mew coats”
Helena picks up from the floor, since they don’t have furniture to store clothes, two coats made with pelts. Both their appearance and their quality do not reflect the fact that they were manufactured in such a short time. This is due to Helena’s experience making clothes, so many times she had to repair or remake vegetable fiber garments for the whole group that she already knows everyone’s measurements by heart.
Although the style of the coats reflects the scarcity of tools and materials, both Anne and Hiraku found the result more than satisfactory, which is saying a lot for Anne’s high standards.
“Thank you so much Helena! This coat is beautiful! something like that would have cost a fortune in our world!”
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