"What? You're not going to stay?" Avila shouted and slammed her hands at the counter. The people eating inside the restaurant looked at her direction for a moment, and then went back to their own business.
"Yeah. We've been staying here for a few days already. I think the town is a lot safer now since we got rid of those parent monsters the other day." Jaegar answered her nonchalantly, gulping down the food he was eating.
"Also, we've killed almost all the monsters left in this area, just like what you asked us to do." Brittanya also answered Avila, stating the truth as she was sitting at the counter beside Jaegar.
"But what will I do without my friends— err, my slaves? We still have a lot to do here."
"Hey, I said I'd help, and I did. Look, I like the free food here. But my mission comes first."
"But, do you have to take her as well?" Avila pointed at Brittanya. "Right, Tany?" She then looked towards Brittanya with wide eyed anticipation of a favorable reply.
"I did join him in his mission. If he needs the help of the greatest mage, then I will help him."
"But, why? Don't tell me he saved you and you fell head over heels for him or something." Avila was shaking her head, her hand in her face.
"Not really. He's not my type." She smiled at her.
"The feeling's mutual." Jaegar didn't look at her and continued to eat.
"I can't talk both of you out of leaving, can I?" Avila was starting to be less imposing.
"Nope." Jaegar finished eating and pushed the bowl away from him. "Anyway, thanks for everything. We better get a move on."
"Where are you both going now?" She was genuinely curious. "You do have a plan of action, right?"
"To the next town, I guess?" He pondered for a moment. "I'm sure there are a lot of monsters wherever we go."
"That's your plan?" Avila bowed her head and let out a big sigh. "Look, if you want to eradicate more monsters and help people like what you did here, go to Jiputin. It's just south of here. People coming from that town told me that there were incidents where people were attacked by savage monsters."
"Oh, now that sounds like a plan!" Brittanya was impressed by the suggestion.
"Yeah, thanks!" Even Jaegar was pleased with the idea.
Tears suddenly fell from Avila's eyes. "I can't believe this. I feel like it's the second time my parents are going to leave me…"
"Don't start killing us off, you cheeky brat." Jaegar turned his back at Avila. "We'll visit again once we're done."
"Who are you calling a brat? You don't look like that older than me!" She was covering her face while still crying. "And who said anything about missing you? Just die for all I care!"
"The food was delicious. See you around." Jaegar started walking towards the exit. "Let's go, Brittanya."
"Hey, aren't we going to clarify that 'parents' part? We're not a couple, you know." Brittanya stood up from her seat to follow Jaegar. She looked back at Avila. "Bye, Avila!"
When the both of them left the restaurant, Avila stopped covering her face with her hands. "Those cold hearted fools. Not even my tears could stop them." She had a smile on her face. "I'll be waiting for you guys."
The pair started to walk towards Jiputin. They were going to trek through several mountains to reach the next town.
"You didn't have to come if you wanted to stay there, you know." Jaegar started talking while he was a few steps ahead of Brittanya.
"I… still have things I have to do."
"Prove that I am the greatest mage." She answered with sheer determination.
"Aren't you already?"
"Thanks, Jaegar." Brittanya couldn't help but smile.
"For what? I haven't done anything worth thanking me for."
"Well, just because."
They have traversed a few short mountains and were nearing the town of Jiputin. The town could be seen while they were on the last mountain trail.
As they were walking near a cliff, they saw the trees at the foot of the mountain rattle as birds fly away. They looked at each other and nodded, then ran downwards the cliff to head directly to the scene. When they reached the area where they first saw the commotion, what they saw was something unbelievable.
"What the hell… happened here?" Jaegar was shocked as he was looking at the surroundings.
"Are those… blood?" Brittanya covered her mouth with her hand.
The scene in question was indescribable. Blood was scattered and splashed all over the trees. There were also dismembered parts of humans lying around nearby. Pieces of different armor and clothing were scattered as well.
"Be careful, there might be a monster lurking around here." Jaegar looked around.
As both of them started to search for monsters, Brittanya was alerted by something.
"Hey, look over there!" She saw a young woman lying on the ground, a few feet away from the bloodied area. They rushed towards her.
"Are you alright?" Jaegar kneeled down beside the woman and raised her body in his arms.
"Jaegar, I think it's too late…" Brittanya pointed at the gaping hole the woman had in her stomach. Blood had already covered the woman's clergy clothing. "She must have been a healer. Maybe those are her comrades?"
While both of them were still looking after the body of the woman, a shadow emerged from the trees. They were alerted of its presence. The bloodlust coming from it was unmistakable.
"Grr…" The figure was slowly going towards them. When it was clearly in view, the person stood there standing still, holding an arrow in its right hand. He had messy green hair, long enough to cover his face. His clothes were tattered as if he was attacked by monsters before.
"Who is that? Is he a survivor?" Brittanya looked at the person. Jaegar was slowly putting down the body of the woman while never averting his gaze at the new presence that appeared before them. "Do you know what happened here?" She asked the person with concern in her voice.
"Grrraarr!" The man rushed towards Brittanya with unexpected speed. He had his arrow in his hand, ready to stab her in the head. She couldn't react in time as she was caught by surprise. When the arrow was about to reach her face, Jaegar grabbed the man's arm to stop him in his tracks.
The man looked at Jaegar and then swung his arm that was being held, and it sent Jaegar flying towards a tree. Brittanya jumped back a few steps but the man kept on rushing towards her. She was looking for a chance to cast her spell, but the man was keeping close distance. She then bumped a tree and had nowhere to jump back into. She was about to be stabbed by the man, when the man stopped and stood for a while before collapsing to the ground. Jaegar struck his arm on the back of the man's neck.
"Thanks. I was caught by surprise." Brittanya looked at the unconscious man.
"That seemed to be the case. I was surprised, too."
"What do we do now?" She looked at Jaegar.
"Ugh." The man slowly woke up and opened his eyes. "Where… am… I?" He looked around and he saw a girl sitting beside his bed. His eyes opened wide, and then sat up to grab the woman by the shoulders. "Karlah! Are you alright?"
"I'm sorry, I am not Karlah. Was she the priestess in the forest?" Brittanya touched the man's arm to calm him down. The man let go of her shoulders.
"Yes…" The reality slowly sank into the man's head. He was looking down, trying to recall everything that happened.
"Can you tell me what happened there in the forest?"
"I… don't remember…" He was now staring blankly into air.
"I see. You don't need to rush it. Just rest here for a while."
"Where… are we?"
"We're in a house inside Jiputin. Some nice people helped us." Brittanya stood up and went to the door. "I'll tell them to bring you food." She then went outside the room and closed the door.
"Karlah…" The man clenched his fists and closed his eyes. Tears started to fall.
Jaegar was walking around town to gather information about the situation concerning savage monster attacks. As he was passing through a busy street, he heard some people talking loudly.
"I warned her not to have anything to do with that man." A woman wearing clothing from the clergy was talking to her male companion.
"After those reports of monster attacks nearby, she should have known better." The man was also wearing clergy clothing. "I heard they found her body after she was reported missing a few days ago."
"She should have listened to me…" The woman was saddened by the news. "What about the man she took care of? Was he found, too?"
"Maybe? They were not entirely sure, because according to what I heard, there was a lot of body parts scattered near where they found her." The woman then gasped at the shocking detail. "There really is a fierce monster waiting out there to attack us."
Jaegar walked away from the two as he started to have an idea of what really happened.
"Hey, is he awake yet?" Jaegar went back to the house that helped them when they first came into town.
"Yep." A little girl greeted him at the door.
"I see. Thanks, little girl." He squatted down to pat the head of the girl. She smiled while being patted on the head.
"Did you find out anything?" Brittanya was there as well.
"Yeah, a little. But we have to talk to him first. There are still things that are bothering me."
"You should eat up. No need to be shy." An elderly woman was standing beside the bed of the man. She gave him a tray of food comprising of bread and some soup.
"Thank you…" The man was just looking at the tray.
"How are you feeling now?" She was preparing a change of new clothes for the man.
"That's good to hear, then. When they brought you here two days ago, I was worried it was too late for you. You were covered in blood. Luckily there were only slight wounds on you." The man didn't react to what she just said.
The door of the room suddenly opened and Jaegar entered, followed by Brittanya.
"Hey, how are you doing?" He went straight to stand beside the man's bed.
"You should knock first, you know." Brittanya was lightly scolding Jaegar while she closed the door. "Sorry for the intrusion, madam."
"No worries, I just finished preparing new clothes for him. I'll be downstairs if you need me." The elderly woman left the room.
"Now that she's out of here, I guess we can talk clearly now." Jaegar was gazing at the man sitting on the bed. "Tell me, why did you kill all those people?"
"Hey, Jaegar! What are you saying to him? Can't you see he's a victim here, as well?"
"That's what I thought at first. But, after hearing the chatter outside, I'm convinced this guy did it."
"That's not too much to go—"
"He's… right." The man spoke up without looking at them. "I… did it."
"No…" Brittanya was shocked by what she heard.
"In fact, there were no monsters in that forest, only animals." Jaegar was still pressing him for answers.
"I'll tell you… everything." The man finally looked at Jaegar.
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