No matter how strong I was, I couldn’t swing a weapon continuously. That was what I had thought, anyway, but for the past week I could hardly remember a moment when I stopped swinging some weapon or other at the air in front of me. I would have hit a training dummy, but either the dummies or the training weapons would wear out. Besides, the training weapons weren’t heavy enough.
At night, I would collapse into my bed, and then in the morning I would eat something and start the process all over again. Any outsider could have easily seen that something was wrong with me, but I wasn’t an outsider.
Just a week before I’d been part of a happy adventuring party. Now Kasner was crippled and everyone was split up.
I didn’t realize it exactly, but I was lonely. When I had first come to this world, I had been too busy worrying how to survive to miss my parents. Besides, they were in a whole other world, so it wasn’t like I could do anything about it. Now, it was still possible to meet any of the members of our little party- but we weren’t together. That loneliness made me miss my parents too, more than just a little.
However, it wasn’t fair to say that I was entirely alone. Kantrilla was still with me, even if I didn’t pay as much attention as I should have when she worriedly tried to talk to me. At least, not until she told me she was leaving.
“Llyr.” Kantrilla found me in the morning one day, before I had gone into my training fugue, “I’m planning to go to Trona.”
“Oh.” That was about all I could find the words to say, “Okay.” I hadn’t paid that much attention to her during the last week, but at the thought she was leaving… my heart sank.
Kantrilla stood there patiently for a few moments, waiting. “So… are you coming?”
“What?” I blinked.
“Are you coming with me? I thought we could go see Father Thomas. He might not be able to heal Kasner, but he might know someone who can… if anyone can.” Kantrilla held her hands in front of her, “Even if he doesn’t want to adventure anymore, he would want a healed leg, wouldn’t he?”
Somehow, I had forgotten about how Kantrilla was. She cared about people, and hadn’t stopped doing so just because something unpleasant had happened. I doubted she had even strongly considered that the rest of us might not return to being a party, after everyone finished what they needed to. “Oh. Yeah, I’ll go.”
That very day, we found ourselves travelling with a merchant and his wagon. No small time merchant would refuse to bring along two C-rank adventurers for just the cost of food and lodging for a few days. He already had a couple guards, but having more was a good deterrent.
Albert, the merchant, started up a conversation with me, “So, you planning to start up a weapon business or something?” He gestured to the pile of weapons that I had brought with me.
“Oh, no. I use all of those. I’m a Martial Adept, so I’ve been training with various kinds of weapons.”
One of the guard raised an eyebrow, “You use all those? Even that big mace?”
I flexed my arm. My arms were now quite muscular- but I was still five feet tall and everything else fit my size. My biceps were probably about the same size as the guard’s- but it was hard to tell under his gambeson. “I’m pretty strong. Over three hundred Strength.” I said that… and it was true- but it was a massive deception. Even my base Strength was higher than three hundred and fifty, and my totals were well over seven hundred.
The guard nodded with respect, “I wouldn’t have guessed that, except for the armor. Is there any need for something that heavy along here? We’re not likely to get anything more than wolves.”
Kantrilla laughed. “Does he need it? Maybe not, but it’s not for protection right now. It’s for training.” I nodded.
“Is that so? You train even while travelling?” He shook his head, “That’s why I didn’t become an adventurer. I could probably fit a spot in a B-rank adventuring party, but not at your age. I’m not the type to push myself so far.” The guard was older than me, maybe in his early thirties- but not that old yet.
“Well, there’s always work for more adventurers… and I just sort of fell into it,” I shrugged. Then I spotted something up ahead, “Wolves!”
On Earth, I doubted that wolves would attack a merchant’s cart unless they were starving. They would prefer to go for easy, lone prey. However, in this world they were a bit more violent- and there were more of them, so maybe they needed this sort of prey.
I wasn’t going to make it easy for them, though. I pulled out my bow, which had been ready nearby. After all, wide open roads were the best place to use a bow, excepting shooting down from a high point. The trees around the road were thin at best, so I saw the wolves from quite a distance. I pulled back the heavy string on the bow, nocking an arrow and letting it fly toward the lead wolf. It struck true, sinking into a wolf’s chest almost up to the feathers.
The two guards also had their own bows- and one of their arrows hit the same wolf, with the second hitting another. With my second arrow, I felled another wolf… and the wolves who were still over a hundred feet away turned and fled. I let loose one more arrow, and though it sunk into a wolf’s flank, it didn’t bring down the wolf immediately. Likely it would bleed out somewhere in the forest… but that would be one less wolf to attack people.
There were no more incidents of note on the road. It was only a few days’ journey to reach Trona, and soon enough the familiar sight of its now seemingly small walls came into view.