Chapter 9: Don’t go out for a walk at night, please! part
When I leveled up tool crafting I stopped getting any progress in that skill. So far, whenever I level up a skill it allows me to unlock another one related to it. truth be told, I was actually a bit scared it wouldn’t be the case, now I can rest easy. I use my skill analyze on the spear:
Stone Spear (good) 20/20
Not only is this the best spear I’ve made so far, but it also gives me a different result when analyzing it. Unlike the previous spears, this is a true weapon.
I guess I finally managed to craft one that can qualify as a weapon, and that’s why I got the new weapon crafting skill. I’m not sure about this, but I also think there must be more levels available in tool crafting and that my success now is due to the fact that the parts of the spear that I crafted were better than what I normally use.
This means that if I get the good quality materials from the beginning, I’ll be able to level up my weapon crafting skill a lot faster.
This is quite tempting, if I remember correctly the forest jackal had 15 health points. If we fight him together, we can easily beat him with just one hit each.
Now everyone seem grumpy in the settlement. Maybe I overdid it a bit with the things I said, although nothing I didn’t lie, maybe there was a better way to convince everyone. I hope they come with me, even though now I got a new weapon I’m still worried there might be more than one. If there’s a pack I’d be done for.
I understand why Luke doesn’t like me, he feels special and childishly wants everything to be done the way he wants.
But Anne, what’s her problem? Ever since we met, she’s been against me. I could understand that the circumstances of our first meeting bothered her a little, but there’s no need to insult me ??every time she gets a chance.
When she brought me the silver flower I thought that maybe things could change for the better, but still she continues with her bad attitude.
Is it because of my appearance? That would make sense, last time I saw my reflection in the water was after I got sick and that was a while ago. Although I am not as handsome as Luke, I didn’t find myself ugly either.
There’s not much I can do about it anyway.
If they decide to come with me, it will be a good for everyone, chores will be easier and that will leave us some spare time allowing us to improve our skills. On the other hand, if they don’t come along with me, it won’t be much of a problem as I took advantage of these days to get better weapons, some medicine, and I might get some food on the way back.
Food! I completely forgot about our agreement regarding resources. They’ll share everything among them, but not with me. And now, because I was lost in my thoughts making weapons I didn’t go to gather today.
I take the basket Helena lent me and I run into the forest with the (good) stone spear.
As much as I search, I can’t find anything. This area is really running out of resources.
If I think about it, they’ve been a whole month gathering here. If I was able to find food before, it was because they didn’t know that nuts, mushrooms and tubers were edible. Now that they know, it’s obvious they’re picking them up too.
I don’t mind to skip dinner, but it’d pretty awkward if I was the only one starving while they eat.
I ran without thinking where I was going, putting all my trust in the markings they’ve made on the trail, my false sense of security lead me to quickly become disoriented and it begins to get dark quickly.
I barely found some walnuts. I’m used to more varied meals, but still, this is a lot better than nothing.
Since I don’t have a light source, I climb a nearby tree. All I have to do is wait for the night to pass.
This forest has trees scattered in the distance. Normally it would be a clear night, but just today it’s cloudy.
Although I’m used to sleeping outside, my plant fiber tunic is somewhat stiff and not so warm. In addition, it’s not that it’s not a masterpiece, it’s not bad considering It’s only my first attempt, but I am in no way an expert.
It’s getting colder, it must be the wind.
I hear the cracking sound of a branch breaking. I just climbed this tree, maybe something was following me. I was lucky to find out earlier, I press the stone spear against my chest and crouch on top of the tree branch.
sounds get closer and closer. I stay still, close my eyes and hold my breath.
“What are you doing in that tree?”
Anne asks me
“What are YOU doing here? It’s night, you should be at the camp”
“It’s our village, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to come back, but you don’t have to insult our efforts either”
“You’re right, I’m sorry”
I start to climb down carefully from the tree, my foot slips and Anne grabs me to prevent me from falling , then helps me down slowly.
“You’re lighter than I thought, anyway, let’s go back”
“Why are you being so nice to me? I thought you didn’t like me”
“Stupid!” Anne exclaims “it’s not that I don’t like you, actually...”
“You don’t have to justify yourself, you don’t have to like me”
“And what are you doing here? Aren’t you afraid to go out at night?”
“I’m an archer, I can see at night”
Makes sense, she walks quite confidently.
“Is it my idea or are you avoiding answering my question?”
“I came looking for you” answers Anne weakly “we made a decision and they sent me looking for you”
After that small chat, we walk in silence. I don’t know why, but I was hoping that maybe she had come looking for me out of concern or ultimately out of kindness. I guess I expected too much, I’m a stranger after all.
Arriving at the camp, everyone is near the campfire already. It’s getting cold and their light clothes are not enough to fight the icy wind.
“They’re finally back!” Helena exclaims as she approaches us.
“Don’t worry helena, no one’s going to steal Ryu from you. You don’t have to be so jealous” says Ayumi.
Although Helena is quite shy and appears to be a kind-hearted girl, Ayumi has the ability to get on her nerves.
If they decide not to come along, I’ll miss these moments. Maybe I should just let them come in their own terms. I walk over to the campfire to warm up a bit, but Hiraku takes this opportunity to begin his speech.
“Young Ryu, we decided that we will go with you, although we couldn’t reach a consensus. You see, that’s the thing with our voting system. If we don’t reach a consensus at least one group won’t be happy, and if we vote unanimously... why did we need to vote anyway? We are six people, if four people decide something, that’s what we should do. But, what happens when the votes are tied? We usually come to a middle ground and that’s even worse because nobody is truly satisfied.”
“Please be patient, we did vote but the final decision is not up to us. This time we had two votes for, one against, and three people want to go but with some conditions. These conditions are: our voting system will still be in place, it’s our safeguard in case things go sour. We need you to craft some tools for us and teach us some of your surviving skills. We also need you to promise to get us to a town as soon as you can and, finally, there will be a period of one week. If by the end of that period we decide to part from you, we’ll be moving to your vicinity”
“And what happens if, let’s say, one day you decide to vote to exile me?”
“That’s not going to happen without a good reason”
“I don’t know, I can’t see the future. I’d like to believe you, but your system doesn’t depend on a person’s ability as much as it does on how well someone gets along with the rest. The idea of ??uniting is to be stronger and survive the winter, which seems to be getting closer.”
“But you have to understand that we have built a village from scratch, we got a lot of resources and we can’t take everything with us, we will be forfeiting everything we have just to follow you” says anne.
“Hooo, so now you have a village? if you’re so rich how come I’ve seen none of it? The way I see it, this deal only benefits you guys. I feel like you guys are trying to take advantage of me, why do i even care on being your leader? The only reason I’m asking you that is because I don’t want any of you acting up and jeopardizing everything. I really appreciate what you’ve done for me so far, tomorrow I’m leaving at noon” Saying this with a straigh face cost me every bit of my will power. Why is it so hard for me to talk to people? I must admit I’ve grown fond of them and being around people has made me truly happy, but I need to set my feet on this.
“Come on, Ryu, please don’t rush” says Bob making a gesture with his hands asking me to calm down.
“I’m sorry Bob, but you must understand what’s going on. I extended my hand to you with the best of intentions and not only you put conditions to take it, you also put your other hand in my pocket”
“What do you mean Ryu?”
Helena says worriedly as she notices I’m upset.
“Don’t you see it? If you were in my place, would you accept such conditions? For starters, if you keep your voting system in place I won’t be the leader, am I right? at first things may go well, but soon everyone will drift to their own thing. And I’m sure you guys will start wasting time in voting, and maybe even because of the result you’ll end up making a poor decision that’ll cost us. Take this very situation as an example, I know every condition must have been asked by different people, each one may not sound like much, but put together... just listen to yourself, you don’t even agree to work under my supervision and the first thing you ask of me is to craft some weapons for you? because that’s what tools are!”
“That’s not it! don’t make it sound like we’re scheming against you. We know we won’t do you any harm because we’re nice people, but how can we be sure you are too?” Anne says, starting in a high pitched voice and ends up speaking softly.
“Listen, I’m grateful I got to meet you guys, I truly am. But I already made my mind about this, I’ll be going back home tomorrow, that doesn’t mean we won’t see each other again, we can trade once a week if that’s okay with you. We just have to find a middle ground and agree on a day”
“I have a proposal” Helena says timidly as she fiddles with her fingers ” how about we accompany Ryu to his camp to make sure he gets there safely, he will pay us with some tools and if we like what we see at his place we stay. If we don’t like it, we stay with Ryu for a couple of days while we look for a better place to live”
“That’s an excellent idea miss Helena! It does cover all our needs, we all agreed that we can’t stay in here anymore. I think with this deal everyone wins. Ryu, if we find the jackal we can all fight it together, so you will have a safe trip. Our problem of scarce resources will also be solved. All in favor?”
They all nod. This makes it clear that they are quite aware of their situation.
“I didn’t say I’m ok with this, why do you decide things on your own? you made it very clear from the start that I am in no way part of your group and I don’t need to say yes just because you voted”
“But Ryu! don’t you want to be together? errr I mean with us! with our group”
Helena starts blushing mid sentence and loses it, strangely, Ayumi didn’t take this as a chance to mock her, instead she speaks in a serious tone.
“So you’re saying that you don’t want us to come over?”
“no, it’s not that i don’t want you to come along, but I don’t want you guys to make it sound like you’re doing me a favor by tagging along. You’re getting way more out of this than i do”
“Geez! why are you so stubborn?”
“Don’t worry ,Anne, I’m sure Helena will find a way to repay him heeeehehee”
Helena puffs her cheeks as everyone breaks into laughter, Bob even starts grabbing his stomach as if it hurt from laughing so much. So, now I’m truly in an awkward position. there’s a lot I need to think about and these guys won’t take things seriously.
Little by little everyone begins to go off to sleep. I decide to stay a while longer stoking the fire while I think about what should I prepare for tomorrow’s travel. Helena stays by my side looking a bit impatient.
“Don’t you want to go to sleep yet? Tomorrow will be a hard day and we need to rest”
“It’s not that, I’m just thinking on what to do tomorrow”
“So you don’t want to go with us after all...”
She looks right into the fire with a disappointed expression and adjust a strand of hair behind her ear with her delicate hand.
“No, I do, I think what you suggested is actually a great idea. But I cant help to be worried, I’m no doubt the weakest of you guys and I know it’s gonna be hard for your group to agree on following my instructions, but I also truly believe that it’s for everyone’s sake. I thought Hiraku wanted me to do this, when I first came he planted the idea... not directly but he kind of implied it. But if this is what he wanted, why didnt he stick his head out to support me? If you don’t mind telling me, what do you think about going with me?”
“Well, if I’m honest, I voted that I wanted to go, but with conditions. Living here felt like being on vacation. The first week everything was perfect. Our group was happy, we had a lot of fun and talked all the time.”
“When I arrived I also noticed that everyone was having fun all the time”
“Well, yes... But things weren’t always like that, we had many discussions, especially when things started going wrong, we barely even found enough food. I don’t want something like that to happen ever again, living in the forest is hard and we don’t have have a purpose. That’s why, I want to go to a city. If you promise to take us to a city, I will follow all your orders without complaining, no matter what you ask me” she says the last part in a soft voice that can barely be heard.
“I see, you endured a lot. Still, I can’t promise that, truth is that I don’t know any cities, towns or settlements.”
Helena questions me with her eyes without saying anything, but since I don’t continue talking she heads to the tent.
“Not coming?” Helena says, blushing in a bright shade of red.
Next morning, as soon as I wake up, I shake Helena lightly to wake her up.
“Good morning Helena, I need some help, would you mind going fishing with me today?”
“Good morning Ryu” her sleepy expression and her monotonous voice exude a charm unknown to me. A feeling of embarrassment runs through my body as soon as I realize that we just slept together, I can’t help but blush.
Past days things were easier in the morning because I left while she was still asleep.
I start my day in a hurry. I get up and check the weapons i manage to craft yesterday: there are nine spears and three harpoons. It’s enough.
Helena leaves the tent soon after me, with her hair tousled. We move quietly to avoid waking up our lazy companions.
Since the fire is out, it’s very cold. Although the tents are poorly built, I haven’t been cold at night these days. I usually end up so exhausted that it doesn’t take long for me to fall asleep, but now I could say I’ve never slept so well. Instead, Helena looks increasingly tired everyday. 𝗶n𝐧𝘳ea𝙙. 𝘤𝑜𝚖
We head to the river, casually. I would take off my clothes to wash, but since it’s all I’m wearing I don’t think that’d be a good idea, so instead I just wash my face.
Helena, with a harpoon in her hand, immediately begins to look for fish in the river. We need to get enough for today and something extra for the trip to my shelter. Normally I’d avoid carrying any extra weight, but if Bob carries the basket it shouldn’t be a problem.
While the lake is full of fish too, I plan to take advantage of as many resources as I can get in here before leaving, since it’s not likely we’ll be coming back any time soon.
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