The women were starting to show signs of sleepiness, and Foo was starting to consider making a perfect replica of the rucksack to fool them. This time not a living one, of course. The idea was to swap the rucksack when the other party was asleep, and claim that they dreamed it, were they to ask about it.
There was however a couple of problems. Firstly, he had not seen another beaver thingie. He could not just swap it out with anything. Fooling them that it was not alive might be possible, but they would surely notice if it changed appearance. Also, if it had the same appearance he could just say that it was a neat trick of his.
The second problem was that he might not have the time to execute the plan anymore. They would surely be more attentive of their surroundings when they prepared to sleep. He could use an excuse of checking the perimeter, or taking a dump. But he was not sure how long it would take, he had to find another beaver thing after all.
Thirdly, one of the women was currently looking quizzically at him, persistently inquiring him about the rucksack. Although he tried his best to ignore it, he could not do that for long. In fact, he should answer right away.
"Please tell us what's up with your rucksack. Pretty please!" she said once again.
Now that they had mentioned it, his plan fell apart. Even if he managed to dodge the question and they went to sleep, they would surely remember it in the morning.
But then again, he probably had to face reality; they would never have been fooled in the first place. It was just wishful thinking form is part. As such, he had to resort to his fool-proof be-all and end-all excuse.
"It is an intriguing artifact!"
Perfect! It worked last time, so why not this time? It was a bit of a risk that it might not fall under the artifact category, which was the reason he did not use it to begin with. But it was currently the best option.
If they called out on it, he could just say that he thought it was one, and that he got it from somewhere. An passing old man perhaps? Maybe saved his life and got lots of fun toys? It would definitely work!
In case they started to ask more profound questions, he just had to rip off some famous novels from his old world. Saving someone strong and gaining some supreme artifact as thanks happened all the time in those.
In case the worst comes to the worst, he just had to sacrifice gramps. And if it got really bad, he could have gramps tell them the stories from his youth. It might be like using a nuke to clean up the mess on your floor, but desperate times...
"It's an artifact? A spiritual artifact?!"
"Yes, I believe that to be the case." Foo nodded sagely.
"Awesome! I have never seen one before! So this is what they look like?!"
"Are all spiritual artifacts this cute?!" the other woman added.
"Ahem, there surely must be other ones too, but I have not seen all, so I can't say for sure."
It seems like it worked. Well, it might even be classed as a spiritual artifact. Foo had no idea what the definition of that was.
"Where did you get it? Can I get one?"
Just as Foo hurriedly went through some fitting novels, the leader of their party spoke up, "Things like that can't be bought. Especially not by people like us. You need huge wealth, contacts and luck. You are just making it hard on him when you ask such questions."
``Yes! Thank you!`` Foo happily thought. That would spare him the hassle of creating a cover story.
"Indeed, I just got my hands on it by chance. You would have no chance to obtain one even if I told you."
"Aww, I really wanted one... Can I buy yours?"
"Not for sale."
"Then... can I sleep with it?" the woman said while picking it up in her arms. As there was no items left on the ground to protect, the rucksack allowed he approach. Although, it was a bit suspicious that she would try to steal the items inside it.
However, after being tightly hugged for a while, it said to Foo, "Hehehe, I would not mind that at all! It is just so soft~"
"ABSOLUTELY NOT!" Foo loudly objected, startling everyone present. Followed by him quickly snatching the rucksack back.
Seeing their stunned expressions, Foo realized that they did not hear the rucksack's remark, and his reply was in human tongue. It would make him seem quite rude, exploding like that.
"Ahem, I am sorry to startle you like that, but it is the storage of my valuables after all. Can't have strangers playing around with it."
"Ah, yes. I did not think of that. Sorry that I asked."
There was no way that he would allow the rucksack to sleep with the woman. Having her snuggle with it during the night. No way.
It was not that he would be envious of the rucksack. Not at all. It was that... there was valuables in it! And he did not want the rucksack to turn bad. As the property of Foo, it must be morally upright, and not do lewd stuff.
"Ah, it's getting dark," the leader then said, changing the subject, "May we stay here for the night?"
Although it seemed like they would do it anyway, it was nice that he pretended to care about Foo's opinion. As Foo had planned to have them guide him, it was perfect. By giving them a couple of favours, it was more likely that they would help him.
"Ah, of course! I would be happy to help you out! In fact, I can take the nightwatch, you do not have to set out a watcher if you don't absolutely want to."
He was not going to sleep anyway, so it would be beneficial to phrase it like he did them another favor. Of course, insisting that they should not put out a nightwatch of their own would probably be met with suspicion.
"Really? There is not need for that! We are used to it. And it is the least we can do to repay you for your hospitality!"
The least indeed. Foo was looking for favors of higher value... As such, he insisted, "Nonono, no need for that. I am not that sleepy anyway. And I know the area better."
Abandoning further attempts, as Foo indeed seemed energetic, and it would be suspicious for them to insist that he should sleep. It might look like they intended to rob him in his sleep, after all.
After organizing their nightshift of one rotating watcher, they then went to set up some telts.
As the other party went to bed, Foo went to the outskirt of their camp, intent on spending the whole night teaching the rucksack a lesson. He had to save it before it became degenerate...
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